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Lay Summary
Developing a core outcome set for adult social care 
Ray Fitzpatrick and Priya Sugavanam 
NIHR PRU Showcase Webinar, 6 April 2022

‘Core outcome sets’ have been developed in medical research; they are measures of the benefits and other outcomes of treatments that are seen as essential in clinical trials. When they are widely used, they make the overall interpretation of different trials easier, because everyone is using the same measures. They have not been widely explored in social care research due to the less number of trials and the broad remit of social care.  

To develop a core outcome set, our group (QSO Policy Research Unit) established a panel of 25 members (11 researchers, 8 members of public and 6 social care professionals/managers). Relevant research evidence about outcome measures was presented to this panel to reach agreement about two things: 

  • what are the key areas of life or health that should be normally included in a core set (survey one) 

  • what specific measures are most suitable to measure those areas (survey two). 

We reached agreement that trials and evaluative studies in adult social care should normally include six areas: well-being, health-related quality of life, functional ability, carers’ perspectives, experience with services, service use and costs. For the first four areas, specific measures were also agreed and recommended.   


Ray Fitzpatrick,

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