Centre for Health Services Studies

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Ann-Marie Towers

Senior Research Fellow


I joined CHSS as a Senior Research Fellow in April 2019, after sixteen years at the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the University of Kent. I am a collaborator for the NIHR Research Design Service South East, a panel member for NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (South East) and lead a programme of work to develop, test and support the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT).
I am a mixed-methods researcher, using both qualitative and quantitative techniques. I have a special interest in how we might employ qualitative methods, such as observations, supported interviewing techniques and forms of adapted communication, to try and ascertain the views and experiences of care home residents and people with cognitive and communication difficulties. I have been the principal or co-investigator on several grants and have received funding from the Big Lottery fund, the NIHR School for Social Care Research, NIHR Health Services and Delivery, NIHR Research for Patient Benefit and most recently, from NIHR for one of the new Policy Research Units (Quality, Safety and Outcomes of Health and Social Care Research Unit).
As well as traditional research, I deliver training and consultancy in the UK and internationally to support the wider use of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit in research, policy and practice. Recent examples include:

  • Writing and delivering new ‘train the trainer’ courses in Australia to support the use of ASCOT in care planning conversations.
  • Working with the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board to support their use of ASCOT in the evaluation of self-directed support.
  • Training NHS England to use the ASCOT in their national evaluation of the care home vanguard sites.
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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Rand, S., Towers, A., Razik, K., Turnpenny, A., Bradshaw, J., Caiels, J. and Smith, N. (2019). Feasibility, factor structure and construct validity of the easy-read Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT-ER). Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2019.1592126.
Malley, J., Rand, S., Netten, A., Towers, A. and Forder, J. (2019). Exploring the feasibility and validity of a pragmatic approach to estimating the impact of long-term care: The 'expected' ASCOT method. Journal of Long-Term Care [Online]. Available at: https://journal.ilpnetwork.org/articles/abstract/11/.
Towers, A., Palmer, S., Smith, N., Collins, G. and Allan, S. (2019). A cross-sectional study exploring the relationship between regulator quality ratings and care home residents' quality of life in England. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes [Online] 17. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12955-019-1093-1.
Towers, A., Nelson, K., Smith, N. and Razik, K. (2019). Using ASCOT in care planning conversations. Australian Journal of Dementia Care [Online] 7:31-35. Available at: http://journalofdementiacare.com/.
Phillipson, L., Smith, L., Caiels, J., Towers, A. and Jenkins, S. (2019). A Cohesive Research Approach to Assess Care-Related Quality of Life: Lessons Learned From Adapting an Easy Read Survey With Older Service Users With Cognitive Impairment. International Journal of Qualitative Methods [Online] 18:160940691985496. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406919854961.
Smith, N., Towers, A., Palmer, S., Beecham, J. and Welch, E. (2018). Being Occupied: Supporting 'meaningful activity' in care homes for older people in England. Ageing and Society [Online] 38:2218-2240. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X17000678.
Rand, S., Malley, J., Towers, A., Netten, A. and Forder, J. (2017). Validity and test-retest reliability of the self-completion Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT-SCT4) with adults with long-term physical, sensory and mental health conditions in England. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes [Online] 15. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12955-017-0739-0.
Welch, E., Palmer, S., Towers, A. and Smith, N. (2016). Why are relatives of care home residents reluctant to 'rock the boat'? Is there a culture of acceptance?. Working with Older People [Online] 21:124-132. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-10-2016-0030.
Towers, A., Smith, N., Palmer, S., Welch, E. and Netten, A. (2016). The acceptability and feasibility of using the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) to inform practice in care homes. Bmc Health Services Research [Online] 16. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1763-1.
Peters, M., Potter, C., Kelly, L., Hunter, C., Gibbons, E., Jenkinson, C., Coulter, A., Forder, J., Towers, A., A'Court, C. and Fitzpatrick, R. (2016). The Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire (LTCQ): Conceptual framework and item development. Patient Related Outcome Measures [Online] 7:109-125. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.2147/PROM.S104552.
Towers, A., Holder, J., Smith, N., Netten, A., Welch, E., Crowther, T., Collins, G. and Bass, R. (2015). Adapting the adult social care outcomes toolkit (ASCOT) for use in care home quality monitoring: conceptual development and testing. BMC Health Services Research [Online]. Available at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/15/304.
Van Leeuwen, K., Bosmans, J., Jansen, A., Rand, S., Towers, A., Smith, N., Razik, K., Trukeschitz, B., van Tulder, M., van der Horst, H. and Ostelo, R. (2015). Dutch translation and cross-cultural validation of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT). Health and Quality of Life Outcomes [Online] 13. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12955-015-0249-x.
Callaghan, L. and Towers, A. (2014). Feeling in control: comparing older people's experiences in different care settings. Ageing and Society [Online] 34:1427-1451. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X13000184.
Forder, J., Malley, J., Towers, A. and Netten, A. (2014). Using cost-effectiveness estimates from survey data to guide commissioning: an application to home care. Health Economics [Online] 28:979-992. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hec.2973.
Conference or workshop item
Collins, G., Towers, A., Smith, N., Palmer, S., Naick, M. and Babaian, J. (2018). Engaging with care home managers. In: British Society of Gerontology Conference.
Towers, A. (2016). Measuring the outcomes of social care: an overview of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT). In: Arts Health Institute.
Towers, A., Rider, S., Smith, N. and Welch, E. (2016). Can Feedback to care home staff help improve residents' quality of life?. In: British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference.
Collins, G., Towers, A., Smith, N. and Palmer, S. (2016). Conducting research in care homes during times of austerity: lessons learned from two research studies involving care homes for older adults in England. In: BSG Conference.
Towers, A. and Nelson, K. (2016). Care planning conversations in aged care facilities: piloting ASCOT. In: Australian Association of Gerontology Conference. Available at: http://www.aag.asn.au/national-conference/2016-conference-program-and-presentations.
Towers, A. (2015). ASCOT developments. In: ASCOT and Seldom Heard Groups. Available at: http://www.pssru.ac.uk/ascot/events/2015/2015-05-18/information.php.
Towers, A. (2014). The Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT). In: Tutkimustiedolla palvelujärjestelmä Paremmaksi – Seminaari,.
Welch, E., Rider, S., Towers, A. and Smith, N. (2014). Living in a care home for older adults: the family members' experience. In: 43rd Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology: New Understandings of Old Age and the Lifecourse.
Smith, N., Towers, A., Rider, S. and Welch, E. (2014). Using ASCOT to inform care practice. In: The International Conference on Evidence-Based Policy in Long-Term Care.
Towers, A., Rider, S., Smith, N. and Welch, E. (2014). Can feedback to care home staff help improve residents' quality of life?. In: Margaret Butterworth Care Forum.
Confidential report
Towers, A., Smith, N. and Razik, K. (2016). Evaluating the Use of ASCOT in Aged-Care Services: Summary of Main Findings. A Baseline Report for the Whiddon Group. [Online]. Personal Social Research Services. Available at: http://www.pssru.ac.uk/publication-details.php?id=5258.
Showing 25 of 51 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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Applied health research, health and social care evaluation, vulnerable groups, complex health needs, long term care of older people, integrated care, mixed methodology, qualitative research, children's hospices, European research, health visiting

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Last Updated: 09/09/2019