Older people's experiences of care transitions (2008-2011)

This project explored the experiences of older people and their carers of transitions across service boundaries, and in particular, of moves into and out of hospital and into and between dementia services. It focused on the experiences of more marginalised older people, including older people from South Asian communities and older people with dementia. It adopted a participatory approach, involving older service users and carers as co-researchers in all stages of the research process.

A key finding was the significance of social and psychological needs arising from transition. In particular, the project highlighted that older people and their carers need to 'feel orientated in a foreign land'. Key factors influencing their experience were: clear and consistent communication with a person they could trust; being recognised and valued as a person by service providers; informal support networks being valued and involved; and services adopting a planned and proactive approach that recognised older people's ongoing and changing needs.

A second key dimension of the findings concerned the participatory research methods and processes. The study found that it is possible to engage traditionally marginalised older people, including people with dementia, throughout the research process and that their involvement had most impact in the data collection and dissemination phases of the study. This gives legitimacy to participatory initiatives and offers pointers about both methods of involvement and processes that may achieve greatest impact.


See some impact statements from some of the research stakeholders about the impact of the research.

Further information

For further information please contact Rosemary Littlechild, r.j.littlechild@bham.ac.uk or Denise Tanner, d.l.tanner@bham.ac.uk.

More reading

HSMC News item: New report into older people's experiences of transitions in health and social care

Download the Final Report Understanding and improving transitions of older people: a user and carer centred approach

Participatory research

Resource pack

We have put together a care transitions resource pack for others to use who may be involved in co-research projects.