Roles, responsibilities and the future care of older adults: A cross-cultural networking project - funded by the Wellcome Trust

The population is ageing, and the need for care in later years is growing (World Health Organisation 2018). People aged over 60 comprise 13 per cent of the world population (25 per cent in Europe). There is a projection that people aged 80 and over will triple by 2050 from 137 million in 2017 to 425 million in 2050 (United Nations 2018). New approaches to maintaining ethical care and support frameworks for older adults are emerging around the world. These approaches take many different forms, reflecting background demographic, economic, social and cultural contexts.

The original aims of the research proposal were to: i) Conduct initial scoping work, and ii) Build a sustainable, international network that enabled the research team to explore the following questions:

  • Whose responsibility is it to arrange care for older people? Does this responsibility fall on the older person him/herself; the family or friends; charities; or the State?
  • How should these responsibilities be enacted through policy formation, in practice settings across cultures?
  • What philosophical underpinnings support the enactment of elder care policy and practice in different cultures?

We utilised a case-study approach adopted across two different national settings – the UK and China. Our intention was to create a specific empirical focus for detailed, cross-cultural analysis which would act as a springboard for the exposition and exploration of a much wider range of varied, international and interdisciplinary approaches to the philosophy, policy and practice of the care of older adults.

Read the project report.

Current projects

Generation Z's Views of Care and Care Careers

Funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, this project aimed to learn about the views of Generation Z regarding care and care careers. In England, this generation of young people was born into a period of financial and economic austerity and have grown up with a familiarity with technology. Hence these young people are also known as the i-generation. As Generation Z is at the age of making choices regarding subjects for future study which will shape their future career choices, it is interesting and Important to explore their views of care and care careers.

View the project summary (PDF).

Fitness to Practise Complaints Relating to Social Workers and Paramedics

In collaboration with Royal Holloway, Durham and Toronto, the HCPC Project aims to explore the reasons for, and action to prevent, the disproportionate number of fitness to practise cases about paramedics and social workers in England.  The final report was submitted in August 2017.

End of Life Care Planning with Young People with Learning Disabilities and their Families

The goal of this project was to develop an educational intervention to assist formal care-givers engage effectively and ethically in end of life care planning with young people with learning disabilities and their families and friends.

The project resources include:

The RIPE Project

Researching Interventions that Promote Ethics in Social Care. Learn more about the RIPE project on the RIPE project page

The research team are now preparing a follow-up study to ascertain the sustainability of the ethics education interventions.

Completed projects


Working towards an understanding of the methods to promote, evaluate and sustain mindfulness amongst middle managers in a healthcare setting

BME Nurses and Compassionate Care

Funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

BME project summary (PDF)

The Young Persons' Care Project (YCPC)

A pilot study of secondary students' views of care and care careers in the South East of England

Young People and Care project summary (PDF)

Whiteley Village 

Exploring care during a period of transition.  An appreciative enquiry into community support.

Whitley Village project summary (PDF)

Cultivating Compassion

In conjunction with the University of Brighton.

Cultivating Compassion toolkit

Cultivating Compassion executive summary (PDF)

Cultivating Compassion project summary (PDF)

The ENACT Project

Empowering Nurses to provide ethical leAdership in Care homes supported by a dignity Toolkit: The positive impact of dignity discussions on staff and resident experiences

Dignity toolkit for care homes 

ENACT project summary (PDF)

The Dignity Measurement Tool Project

In collaboration with Nagoya University, Japan

Scope Project

A scoping project exploring ethical issues, challenges and opportunities in the care of older people (in collaboration with the ETHOX foundation)  For this project, there are two publications currently under consideration which will be published shortly. 

SCOPE project summary (PDF)

The CUSPPP Project

Consensus towards Understanding and Sustaining Professionalism in Paramedic Practice (in collaboration with SECAMB) 

CUSPPP project summary (PDF)

SHIFTS Project

Shift patterns in Hospital: Impact on nurse's Fatigue, acTivity levels and Sleep - nurse's shift patterns and sleep study (in collaboration with Surrey Sleep Centre and Ashford and St Peters NHS Foundation Trust) 

CHOICE Project

End of life care: Confidence and competence for carers (in collaboration with Ashford and St Peters NHS Foundation Trust) 

CHOICE project evaluation (PDF)

End of life care toolkit (PDF)

End of Life (EOL) Decision Making Project

In collaboration with the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, University College Cork, Ireland and University Vellendar, Germany

Article: Negotiated reorienting: A grounded theory of nurses’ end-of-life decision making in the intensive care unit

End of Life Decision Making project summary (PDF)

PSA (Professional Standards Authority Database Study)

A project relating to the scoping of information within the PSA database as it relates to regulators' Fitness to Practice activities.  

A four phase project comprising:

  1. Familiarisation with database
  2. Agreement regarding methodology
  3. Application of methodology including discussion with PSA staff
  4. Drawing conclusions and next steps

PSA project summary PDF)


A collaborative research project to understand how (poor) communication by nurses and midwives contributes to complaints and to explore the role of clinical leadership in promoting effective communication for nurses and midwives responding to formal complaints.  

RESPONSE project summary

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Find us

Map of the University of Surrey
International Care Ethics (ICE) Observatory
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Surrey