Assessing the need for arthritis training among paid carers in UK residential care homes: a focus group and interview study

Paul Whybrow, Suzanne Moffat, Lesley Kay, Ben Thompson, Terry Aspray, Rachel Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
278 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of the study was to perform an educational and training needs assessment for arthritis care in residential homes.
Qualitative data were collected from three purposively selected residential homes: one independent, one in a regional chain and one in a national chain. Three researcher-led focus groups were conducted with paid carers (N = 22) using vignette exercises; interviews were undertaken with 12 residents with joint pain (N = 12), five managerial staff and two general practitioners (GPs). Data were compared and analysed thematically around care practices, communication and training.
There is a lack of arthritis awareness among paid carers, although they regularly identify and manage arthritic symptoms. Residents rely on paid carers to recognize when pain and mobility problems are treatable. Senior staff and GPs rely on carers to identify arthritic problems. However, paid carers themselves undervalued the health significance of their activities and lacked the confidence to communicate important information to healthcare professionals. Few of the paid carers had received training in arthritis and many expressed a strong desire to learn about it, to improve their ability to provide better care.
Education for paid carers regarding arthritis is lacking and lags behind education about conditions such as dementia and diabetes. To meet the expectations of their care roles fully, paid carers require an awareness of what arthritis is and how to recognize symptoms. We suggest that training should be aimed at improving confidence in communicating with colleagues, residents and health professionals, with senior care staff receiving more in-depth training.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalMusculoskeletal Care
Early online date14 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Aug 2017


  • Arthritis
  • Care homes
  • Focus groups
  • joint pain
  • paid carers
  • Qualitative research


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