Current projects

UK Meeting Centres Support Programme (UKMCSP)

Please see further information here

Get Real with Meeting Centres: A realist evaluation of locally-driven social care for those affected by dementia

The Association for Dementia Studies was awarded funding for this two-year project by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB), Research for Social Care Programme. Commencing January 2021, this research is using a realist approach to gather together learning from three well-established Meeting Centres in Droitwich SpaLeominster and Powys on how they have overcome challenges to keep going long term, beyond their initial start-up phase, in a climate where such initiatives are often forced to fold after only a short period.

A Meeting Centre is a local resource, operating out of ordinary community buildings, that offers on-going warm and friendly expert support to people with mild to moderate dementia and their  families. At the heart of the Meeting Centre is a social club where people meet to have fun, talk to others and get help that focusses on what they need. Meeting Centres are based on sound research evidence on what helps people to cope well in adjusting to living with the symptoms and changes that dementia brings.

 This new research involving Meeting Centres aims to uncover the cause-and-effect factors at play – how context (background circumstances) can trigger mechanisms (processes within people and organisations) to produce desirable or undesirable outcomes that have a bearing on whether a Meeting Centre can keep going long term. It builds on an earlier realist review (SCI-Dem) which built a complex theory about this based on a review of the literature and stakeholder opinion. By learning more about the particular challenges facing the centres under study, we hope to develop better strategies to overcome those challenges – and to make recommendations to others across the UK.

The research is being conducted with collaborators from all three Meeting Centres, as well as the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health SciencesLondon School of Economics, the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group and Worcestershire County Council. The research will also include a Discrete Choice Experiment surveying the preferences of members of Meeting Centres across the UK, to learn what elements of Meeting Centres members most value, what they would or wouldn’t be willing to pay for, and how much, to get a clearer idea of the economic factors in running a Meeting Centre going forward.

It will also take into account the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19 restrictions, which have meant people have often not been able to meet physically (maintaining support and social connection in other ways via the Meeting Centre network) or have had to meet in reduced numbers under restricted conditions.

The Get Real project was funded as part of the NIHR’s Research for Social Care call (RfSC) which has given a total of £2.15 million to new research into adult social care in 2021, as part of NIHR’s commitment to improving social care through high quality evidence and building capacity for research in this field.

Project Team

Association for Dementia Studies

  • Professor Dawn Brooker: Chief Investigator (Joint Lead)
  • Dr Shirley Evans: Chief Investigator (Joint Lead)
  • Professor Tracey Williamson: Patient & Public Involvement (PPI) lead
  • Thomas Morton: Project coordinator, data collection and analysis
  • Faith Frost: Data collection and analysis
  • Jen Bray: Data management and processing
  • Mike Watts: Administration support

University of Oxford (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences)

  • Professor Geoff Wong: Realist methodological expertise

London School of Economics & Political Science

  • Dr Michela Tinelli: Discrete Choice Experiment health economics methodology and analysis lead.

3 Nations Dementia Working Group

  • Nigel Hullah: Expertise on dementia advocacy for PPI

Worcestershire County Council

  • Hannah Perrott: Expertise on social care issues 

Meeting Centre Leads

  • Derek Radcliffe: Chair of Trustees, Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre
  • Philippa Bruce-Kerr: Chair of Trustees, Leominster Meeting Centre
  • Deborah Gerrard: Chief Officer of Dementia Matters in Powys, Powys Meeting Centres

Further reading and resources

Publications

  • A list of publications about Meeting Centres from the MEETINGDEM project and related studies can be found here.

Online

  • Updates on the progress of the project can be found on our dedicated blog, or keep up-to-date with news on our ADS blog.
  • Follow @DementiaStudies @MeetingCentres or @ThomasMortonADS for updates on this and other ADS/Meeting Centres projects.

Contact

Worcester Life Stories

KYP LSHW combined logos1

Keeping connected is important for our health, with some studies suggesting that the impact of isolation and loneliness on health, functional decline and mortality are of the same magnitude as such risk factors as obesity and smoking. Initial evidence suggests that interventions to reduce loneliness may provide health benefits, and previous projects have shown that life story work helps to keep people with dementia connected with their communities.

In this context, the Worcester Life Stories project aims to bring together health and heritage in a unique way by co-producing two independent, but connecting, online platforms:

Know Your Place Worcester

Know Your Place Worcester is based on a bespoke website developed by Bristol City Council called Know Your Place. Hosted by Worcester City Council, Know Your Place Worcester allows people to explore their neighbourhood through historic maps, images and linked information, and to share their own memories and images. It consists of a map-based database of over 35,000 digitised historic images from the Worcester City Council Historic Environment Record (HER). The platform has scope to hold further collections and continue to evolve and expand, enabling users to learn more about their area or specific parts of Worcester that they have a connection with.

Members of the public will also be able to upload their own photographs, written and oral memories. The platform can be used independently or collaboratively within families or community groups, and it is hoped that it will initiate social media conversations with other residents of Worcester developing new contacts and networks. The Know Your Place Worcester website is free to use and open to everyone - https://kypworcester.org.uk/

Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Hosted by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Care and Health NHS Trust, Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire is a new online platform that allows anyone living in either Herefordshire or Worcestershire to create their own digital life story book. Using a flexible template, users will be able to download images and memories from Know Your Place Worcester and upload their own materials. People may choose to develop their life story with others, share it within families and friendship groups and/or allow it to be used within community groups, care homes and hospitals for example.

Life Packs are also available on the website, which contain resources around a common theme. These can be used outside of the Life Story books, for example to facilitate reminiscence sessions, or content can be linked to a life story.

All residents in Worcestershire and Herefordshire can create their own digital life story book for free, but you do have to register on the site to be able to do this or to view a shared book. Life Packs are available and free to all. You can find the life stories and life packs here - https://life-stories.hacw.nhs.uk/

Evaluation

The Association for Dementia Studies was commissioned by Historic England to evaluate the experiences and views of individuals and community groups who use the two web-based platforms. This research will involve interviews, focus groups and two online surveys – one for each resource. If you have used either (or both) of the platforms and wish to get involved you can access the surveys here:

A blog of the launch event for the two platforms is also available. 

You can keep up-to-date with developments for both platforms on the Worcester Life Stories website at https://worcesterlifestories.wordpress.com/

Care Home Action Researcher-in-residence Model (CHARM)

CHARM logo plus DMT AS

The Association for Dementia Studies was awarded funding by the Alzheimer’s Society and Dunhill Medical Trust in October 2019. CHARM (Care Home Action Researcher-in-residence Model) is a 12-month project which investigates whether having a ‘researcher-in-residence’ helps care homes to become more research aware and active. The study will evaluate experiences of staff, residents and family carers who are involved in the CHARM project and whether they think the approach works.

The project will support collaborative research between care homes and researchers. Researchers from ADS will spend time within participating care homes, supporting staff, residents and family carers to design and implement their own unique and meaningful research projects. The project aims to provide care homes with practical and accessible tools to conduct further research in the future.  

The project has four care providers as co-applicants:

The team are working closely with one care home from each provider and any staff, residents and family carers who are interested in being involved in conducting research. 

The Research Team

Professor Tracey Williamson: Professor of Family Care, Principal Investigator

Isabelle Latham: Senior Lecturer, Project Lead and day-to-day management

Faith Frost: Research Associate

Contact us:

For more information please contact us via dementia@worc.ac.uk or 01905 542531.

National Resource Centre for Carers of People with Dementia (NRCC) 

 

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Expert Working Group - April 2016

Dementia Carers Count were formerly known as the Royal Surgical Aid Society. They have a rich history dating back to 1862 of providing support to people in need; firstly in the form of surgical aids and then more recently in the form of care homes. In 2018, they took a decision to support the needs of people caring for someone with dementia. Creating a Dementia Carers Centre is at the heart of their vision along with offering events and expert-led dementia carer courses.

Dementia Carers Count have a strong collaborative partnership with the Association for Dementia Studies, with a shared vision and shared ethos. This partnership led to the development of the post of Professor of Family Care, working across both organisations towards excellence in the support of families living with dementia.

Having completed a number of projects with the Charity, we are currently working together to evaluate the pilot dementia carer support courses. The three day residential courses are offered in either Birmingham or Swindon, providing an opportunity for carers to learn more about dementia and their caring role. Feedback so far suggests sharing time with others in a similar situation has been invaluable.

To find out more about the work of Dementia Carers Count, please visit their website

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