Objective: The other talks in this symposium detail the evidence base that we currently have with respect to those who live in severe domestic squalor and self neglect. The objective of this talk is to identify what we donít know and how we might meet these research and information needs.
Design: We will consider gaps in the evidence base by study type, these will include: cross-sectional studies, qualitative research, case control studies, cohort studies and randomised controlled trials and other evaluative strategies.
Materials and Methods: The next stage involves the formulation of aims and objectives for future research and then using these to generate testable hypotheses.
Results: The research agenda in this area is excitingly full. A programme of work would include the following: (a) investigation into biological, psychological and social aetiological factors considered alone and in conjunction; (b) the natural history of living in squalor and self neglect; (c) the relationship of squalor to homelessness; (d) ethical issues and the role of choice and coercion; (e) pathways into and out of squalor; (f) clarification of the relationship with mental disorder, substance misuse and organic disorder; (g) rural versus urban comparisons; (h) identification of needs; (i)the formulation of health and social strategies to address living in squalor and self neglect; (j) descriptions of interventions and services; and (k) evaluations of these interventions.
Conclusion: We know very little about what leads to individuals to live in squalor and what can be done to help those affected. The first step to answering these questions is to know what we donít know. Participants should have a better idea of our ignorance at the end of session and can contribute to what we should do next.
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