What is it like for residents when there is an outbreak of an infection in their care home?

How does life change for them when this happens?

In this study, we hope to answer these questions. Please read on for more information. 

There is an ongoing risk of infectious disease outbreak in care homes such as norovirus, flu and scabies. This is due to close proximity of residents and staff, as well as the vulnerability of residents. Care homes are required to report notifiable infectious outbreak to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), so that appropriate support from the local Health Protection Team scan be put in place.

The occurrence of infectious outbreak and its control can lead to a number of changes to everyday life for residents and staff, as staff and infection control team work together to reduce the impact of the changes and prevent the spread of infections, in order to protect residents, staff and visitors. Implementing these changes may affect resident’s wellbeing and quality of life.

Using a case-study approach, researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Kent have worked with care homes, with recent experience of managing infectious outbreak, to explore the feasibility of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) to assess the impact of infectious disease outbreaks on residents’ quality of life.

Following preliminary findings from the interviews with care homes, we are in the process of seeking further feedback and revalidation from the care homes that have taken part in the interviews.

We are inviting health and social care professionals with experience in supporting care homes in managing infectious disease outbreaks, to complete a very short survey and indicate whether they would like to participate in an interview.

The project is funded by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The lead for this study is Dr Diane Bunn, Associate Professor of Nursing Research, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia (UEA);

Tel: 01603 591966; email: d.bunn@uea.ac.uk  

Key research questions

  • Can we use the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) to evaluate the impacts of outbreak measures on care home residents’ quality of life (QoL)?

Summary of methods

In the first phase, we would like to meet with a small number of care home managers, or their deputies, to talk about an infectious outbreak, what happened, and how life may have changed for residents whilst it was ongoing. In particular, we would like to see whether the ASCOT Toolkit might be useful in helping to identify changes to any of the following:

  • Personal care
  • Food and drink
  • Resident’s control over their daily life
  • Resident safety
  • Social participation
  • Occupation
  • Accommodation
  • Dignity

In the second phase, we would like to discuss our findings with care home staff, as well as health and care professionals, to discuss how useful these findings may be to other care homes when experiencing an infectious outbreak.

When the study is complete, we will report our findings to the UKHSA (funders) and present these at local and national meetings. We will also publish in local and national newsletters and peer-reviewed journals. All the details of these will be available on our web-pages.

List of researchers

Project page - University of Kent

Who is taking part?


  • Health and Social Care professionals with experience of supporting care homes in managing infectious disease outbreaks. There are two parts to the study – you can take part in either one or both.
    1. A short survey. Full information about the survey can be found in the Participant Information Sheet, which also includes a link to the survey.​​​​​​​
    2. An interview or workshop. Full information about the interview/workshop can be found in the Participant Information Sheet, which also includes a link to the consent form.


For more information you can view our study flyer

If you have any questions, please contact Diane Bunn: d.bunn@uea.ac.uk  (Tel: 01603 591966).

Study duration

The project started in December 2023 and will end in 31 May 2024.