Understanding and improving transitions of older people: a user and carer centred approach

The aims of this research project were to:

  • Explore older people's experiences of moving across service boundaries, identifying positive and negative experiences, information and advice needs, access to services and needs for ongoing support.
  • Identify how the needs of particular groups of older people may differ from each other, and the different needs of service users.
  • Investigate these issues over time, to illuminate how previous transitions impact on current and future needs.
  • Draw out policy and practice implications for the way in which services prepare and support older people and their carers for transition between services.
  • Support and share the learning from implementation of project findings in four health and social care communities.


The research was being carried out in four case study areas, each of which focused on the experiences of a specific older user/carer group.  These were:

  • Solihull: older people who have dementia and their carers
  • Leicester: older people from black and minority ethnic group
  • Manchester: older people who live in an area with a proportionally small older population
  • Gloucestershire: older people who live in rural areas

Using a participatory action research approach, the project was co-delivered with older people who were recruited and trained to participate in the project as co-researchers.  In each area, the research team worked with between 5-8 co-researchers who themselves had experiences of care transitions.

Following the fieldwork research, the research team worked with key stakeholders in each case study area on a year-long implementation phase. Providing organisational development support to the areas involved, the goal of this phase was to embed the project findings into local policy and practice.


Ellins, J and Glasby, J (2014), You don't know what you are saying 'Yes' and what you are sayin g'No' to: Hospital experiences of older people from minority ethnic communities. Ageing and Society, Published online: 26 September 2014. doi: 10.1017/S0144686X14000919.

Tanner, D, Glasby, J and McIver, S (2014), Understanding and Improving Older People's experiences of Service Transitions: Implications for Social Work, British Journal of Social Work. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcu095.

Download the full report - Understanding and improving transitions of older people: a user and carer centred approach. Health Services and Delivery Research Programme.

Littlechild, R., Tanner, D. and Hall, K. (2014) Co-research with older people: Perspectives on impact.Qualitative Social Work, doi: 1473325014556791. Published online November 3, 2014.

Resource pack

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




Jon Glasby, Jo Ellins, Shirley McIver, Deborah Davidson, Denise Tanner (IASS), Rosemary Littlechild (IASS)


NHS Service Delivery and Organisation Research and Development Programme (SDO)