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Research project

Germ defence for care homes

  • Research groups:
  • Lead researcher:
  • Research funder:
    National Institute of Health and Care Research
  • Status:
    Not active

Project overview

We plan to develop an intervention to improve how care home staff practice infection prevention and control.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused 39,000 deaths in residents of care homes, who are also vulnerable to outbreaks of influenza and gastroenteritis. Good infection prevention and control has the potential to reduce infections and deaths in care homes by 30%. Unfortunately infection prevention and control is not always optimal in residential care. Previous research has shown that an interactive website about infection control (called “Germdefence”) succeeded in reducing spread of flu and coughs. It has been adapted for schools but not yet for care homes.

We will work with representatives of care home staff to adapt the existing intervention for care homes. We will observe and interview carers while they are using the intervention and will incorporate their feedback into the next versions. We will continue to make improvements according to the feedback received to ensure that the final version to be tested in a future RCT is well received by a range of carers.


Lead researcher

Dr Merlin Willcox

Clinical Lecturer in General Practice

Research interests

  • Global maternal and child health
  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Systematic reviews

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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