BACKGROUND: Collaborative working between academic institutions and those who provide health and social care has been identified as integral in order to produce acceptable, relevant, and timely research, and for outputs to be useful and practical to implement . The ExCHANGE Collaboration aims to bring together researchers and people working, living in and visiting care homes to build capacity, share and mobilise knowledge, and identify key areas for future research . This paper describes an embedded, formative, realist and theory-driven evaluation which aims to gather information about how successful the ExCHANGE Collaboration is perceived to be in achieving its aims . An existing realist programme theory from the literature - Closer Collaboration - will be supplemented by two substantive theories: Co-production and Knowledge Brokering . This will result in an initial programme theory which will be tested by this formative evaluation to refine understanding of how the ExCHANGE Collaboration works .
METHODS: The evaluation will employ mixed qualitative methods, including: analysis of documents such as feedback forms, Knowledge Broker journal/diary, event attendance records, risk and issues logs and other relevant paperwork gathered as part of project delivery; observations of events/activities; and interviews with care home providers and staff, care home residents, residents' family members, and researchers who are involved in the project (both project design/delivery, and also attendance or involvement in project activities/events). Framework Analysis will be used to interpret the data collected; analysis will be strategic, by focusing on particular key areas of importance in the developing theory of how the ExCHANGE Collaboration might achieve change .
RESULTS: The results of this study are expected to be published in 2022 .
DISCUSSION: This evaluation will investigate how successful the ExCHANGE Collaboration is perceived to be in achieving its aims, in what way, in which contexts, and how this may differ for those involved . It will do this by testing an initial programme theory about how the collaboration works, for whom, under which circumstances, and in what way . Findings will be shared through written publication, an end of project learning event for those involved/interested in the project, and a lay summary to be made publically available.
Index: Care homes, Collaboration, Evidence-informed practice, Implementation, Knowledge brokering, Knowledge mobilisation, Realist evaluation, Wellbeing