Human Rights in Care Homes

About the research project

The Essex Autonomy Project has been investigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on respect for human rights in care homes. This research project is funded by AHRC under the UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response funding scheme.

The research team consists of Prof. Wayne Martin, Prof. Sabine Michalowski, Dr. Margot Kuylen, Dr. Vivek Bhatt, and Dr. Aaron Wyllie.

Between March and May 2021, the research team gathered information on the experiences of professionals working in or with care homes during the pandemic. We asked participants:

  • which restrictions on movement and visits were implemented and how,
  • how restrictions impacted on frameworks designed to protect residents’ human rights, such as the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) system,
  • whether and how “Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation” (DNACPR) were used at care homes during the pandemic,
  • how the pandemic affected access to care for residents, and
  • whether guidance for care professionals has been useful.

Data were gathered through and online survey and a series of follow-up focus groups. The survey report can be found here; the focus group report is not publicly available to protect participants’ confidentiality.

These findings are being analysed by the team and have fed into several research outputs, including journal articles, blogposts, and podcasts. Below is an overview of the research outputs to date.


July 2021

  • Podcast: Prof. Wayne Martin and Angela Rhodes, Deputy General Manager at Woodleigh House Care Home, Healey Care Ltd., spoke to Victoria Tischler about the impact of Covid-19 on care homes for the Pandemic and Beyond Podcast

March 2021

  • Policy paperThe research team have produced a policy paper addressing whether and how Covid Status Certificates (CSCs) should be used in the UK’s COVID strategy. The paper was submitted as evidence to the government’s COVID-Status Certification Review. Read the paper here.
  • PodcastWayne Martin and Judith Bueno de Mesquita speak to Better Human podcast host Adam Wagner to examine the human rights implications of Covid Status Certifications. You can listen to the episode here:
Liberty, Proportionality and Human Rights in Locked-Down Care Homes

December 2020