The field of care research covers studies of care work provided to people who require assistance with activities and social participation. The overarching objective of the care research is to contribute to increased self-reliance, health and quality of life – or a dignified decline and death. The mandate of the Centre for Care Research is to produce, collect and disseminate knowledge that can provide the care service with better grounds for decision making and contribute to enhancing the quality of care work.
The Report to the Storting (White Paper) no. 25 (2005-2006) (“Long-term care – Future challenges”) marked the start of a planned increase in funding for care research. NOU 2011:11 “Innovation in the care services” and Report to the Storting (White Paper) no. 29 (2012-2013) “Future care” followed up and supported the reasoning for this priority. Both documents reinforce the significance of strengthening the knowledge base of the care service, and both highlight the need for independent care research: “The care sector must receive its own knowledge base to ensure the complexity and distinctive character of these services.”
The establishment of five regional centres for care research in 2008, and a related documentation centre, The Care Library (Omsorgsbiblioteket), in 2016 constitute the main initiative towards achieving this goal. The research and innovation strategyHelseOmsorg21also highlighted the need for a knowledge promotion reform and a significant increase in funding for research within the municipal health and care services.
What is care research?
In its background document, the Centre for Care Research defined the field of research as such: “Care research covers studies of care work, paid as well as non-paid, to people of all ages who need contact, practical help, adaptation, nursing, prevention, rehabilitation, treatment or support to fulfil activities and social participation due to illness, injury, disability or aging. The overarching objective of care work is to contribute to increased self-reliance, health and quality of life – or a dignified decline and death. Care research shall develop knowledge that can provide the care service with better grounds for decision making and contribute to enhancing the quality of care work.”