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“Chris is really looking forward to seeing what results come from the trial!” - East of England care home resident takes part in vital NHS research

Chris, a resident at a care home who is taking part in research, with Sue, his carer.

A Norfolk man has become one of the first people in the country to take part in NHS research happening at a care home for people with learning disabilities.

Chris, 64, has been living at Claxton House, Norfolk, having moved there after his family relocated to the county. Earlier this year, he was invited to take part in a trial which is testing a new type of catheter.

The CADET trial, which is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), is testing a new ‘Optitip’ catheter which researchers hope will cause less urinary tract infections (UTIs) in people who have to use them, compared to the standard ‘Foley’ catheter.

Many patients using an indwelling catheter (which is left in place as opposed to being used as and when needed) experience problems that impact their lives. These include frequent UTIs, pain and reduced quality of life.

People aged 18 years or over who use an indwelling catheter are invited to take part in the CADET trial, which randomly allocates participants to use either the new or old catheter for a period of 12 months. Participants on the CADET trial are monitored regularly and receive monthly follow-up questionnaires about how the catheter is affecting their health and life in general.

With the help of Sue, one of his carers, and a research nurse from the NIHR, Chris decided to help the team behind the trial by taking part. Chris said:

“I'd had the same catheter since the bladder had stopped working, then Sue then told me about the trial and I thought ‘well, I'll have a go at it’ as I felt that it could help a bit with the problems involved.

Sue, who has worked at Claxton House for three years, is keen to help residents take part in research to try to improve care. She said:

“This is the best home I’ve ever worked in, it’s like a family home. We will always try to do whatever we can to enhance the lives of residents.

“It had been horrendous for Chris before as he’d been in a lot of discomfort, so when we heard about the trial, we were excited by the possibility that there might actually be an alternative out there because Chris has really pretty much exhausted all other options.”

Currently, 20% of nursing community care is related to managing catheter blockage but little innovation has been made in the overall design of indwelling catheters over the past 80 years.

Julia Fromings-Hill, NIHR Research Nurse based at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, is working with care homes to help deliver the CADET study:

“We are so pleased that our team has been able to offer the Cadet trial to our patients because it asks the really important question “Does this catheter work better than that catheter?”.  The results of this trial should help us to make sure we are offering the best possible care to patients like Chris, and all the other people we care for who need to use a catheter.”

Chris feels other people should consider taking part: “If people do have a problem, I suggest that they go in for this trial because it could be beneficial to them.”

Sue is also keen to help encourage other homes to take part: “We know that research can help so we will always get involved if it’s possible. A lot of homes are really busy, but it actually doesn’t require a lot to take part. We have to submit paperwork once a month but it’s not a very arduous task at all.

“Julia and the research team have also been there to support us and answer all our questions along the way. Chris is really looking forward to seeing what results come from the trial, and so are we!”

At the end of the 12 month trial duration, the CADET team will assess the number of UTIs experienced by the participant, and final results will be published following the close of the trial, due to take place in November 2024.

To find out more about research happening near you visit