A study led by the University of Bedfordshire in partnership with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has found that care home residents can see an improvement in their quality of life if they are allowed reasonable access to alcohol.

The ‘Alcohol use in care homes’ study, funded by the NIHR, was set up to explore the availability of alcohol in care homes and policies relating to alcohol use that are currently in practice across the sector.

Based on the findings, the University of Bedfordshire has now produced a new set of guidelines for care home staff and members of the public on the availability and management of alcohol in care homes, with additional input from the CQC. The guidance states that care homes should aim to strike a balance “between minimising risk and maximising quality of life.”

The study found that care staff saw a variety of benefits when residents were allowed access to alcohol, including increased wellbeing and confidence, improved appetite and enhanced social participation.

Dr Martyn Patel, NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) East of England Lead for Ageing Research, said of the study: “It is a delight to see a study that focuses on person-centred care and barriers to achieving personal autonomy in care home residents. This section of society has historically been underserved in clinical research, and this study helps redress that balance.”

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(Source: NIHR Clinical Research Network)