Teresa Atkinson

Teresa Atkinson.JPG

Senior Research Fellow - Association for Dementia Studies

Association for Dementia Studies

Contact Details

email: t.atkinson@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 54 2530

Teresa Atkinson is a Senior Research Fellow who has a long career in social research primarily using qualitative methodologies.  She began her career working with NHS Mental Health Trusts evaluating training and psychosocial interventions for family carers of people living with dementia.  Following this post Teresa moved to the third sector working as Research Officer for a charity providing education, care and psychological therapies for young people living with complex co-morbid neurological impairment including autism, Down’s Syndrome and chromosome disorders.  Within this role, Teresa led on projects to design and evaluate living and learning environments to improve teaching, care and to ensure young people have the opportunity to maximise their independence, autonomy and education.  She travelled extensively internationally to disseminate research findings and build research capability amongst frontline practitioners. 

Teresa is passionate about understanding the lived experiences of people affected by cognitive impairment across the life span and understanding the ways in which quality of life can be improved She is skilled in working with people as partners in the research journey and in facilitating feedback from a range of participants including people with communication difficulties.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education
  • MSc Clinical Neuropsychiatry – dissertation focussing on the experiences of parenting a child with foetal alcohol syndrome using interpretative phenomenological analysis.
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods
  • City and Guilds Certificate in Counselling 


Teaching, Research and Knowledge Transfer

Teresa is a Senior Research Fellow and module lead for the Post Graduate Certificate in Person Centred Dementia Care.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in qualitative research methodologies together with her passion for environmental design to support people living with neurological impairment.  Working across the life span, Teresa has led research, education and consultancy for third sector organisations and academia for approximately 20 years.  She is skilled in co-creating research projects with people who have cognitive impairment and communication issues.  Teresa has a specialist interest in the lived experience of people with cognitive impairment, housing and intergenerational projects.


Current Research

Evaluation Lead for Abbeyfields Research Society funded project:  Evaluation of Community Link Worker role in a care enabled environment.

Completed projects 

  • DemECH: Support for people living with dementia in Extra Care Housing (Principal Investigator)
  • SCI-Dem: Sustainable Community Interventions for people living with dementia (Project Manager)
  • Dementia Carers Count: Evaluation of Pilot Training Programme
  • Dementia Adventure in a Box: Evaluation
  • Dementia Dwelling Grant: Evaluation
  • Green Dementia Care
  • MeetingDem
  • Namaste
  • Prime Minister’s Challenge Schools Intergenerational Project
  • ECHO: The Provisions of Social Care in Extra Care Housing
  • ASSET: Adult Social Services Environments & Settings


Teresa delivers bespoke consultancy and training, particularly in relation to the creation of dementia-friendly environments and spaces to support neurodiverse conditions

Module/programme lead 

  • Module Lead for MDEM4005 Enabling Environments for people with dementia
  • Module co-lead for MDEM4007 Dementia in the Family Context

Knowledge Transfer:

External education projects

  • Consultancy and training for local authorities across Wales on environmental design in care homes and extra care housing
  • Bespoke educational events focusing on enabling environments for people living with dementia delivered to National NHS Trusts, housing providers, care homes and extra care housing providers
  • Developing bespoke environmental design tools for national organisations; Royal College of Chiropractors

Professional Bodies

  • Fellowship of Higher Education Academy
  • British Society of Gerontology full member


Peer reviewed journal articles 

Atkinson, T. and Oatley, R. (2023), Benefits and challenges of living in extra care housing: perspectives of people living with dementia, Working with Older People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-09-2023-0035

Atkinson, T., Russell, C. , Bruce, M., Jacobson-Wright, N. & Bray, J. (2023) Developing a distance learning Post Graduate qualification for professionals in dementia care – our journey. Journal of Dementia Care, 31 (3). pp. 33-35. ISSN Print: 1351-8372

Oatley, R. & Atkinson, T. (2023) What is the 'extra' in Extra Care Housing for people living with dementia? Journal of Dementia Care, 31 (3). pp. 22-23. ISSN Print: 1351-8372

Atkinson, T., Bray, J. & Williamson, T. (2022) You're in a new game and you don't know the rules: Preparing carers to care. Dementia, 21 (7). pp. 2128-2143. ISSN 1471-3012 Online ISSN: 1741-2684

Bray, J., Atkinson, T & Williamson, T. (2022) You matter!!! Training to support family carers of people with dementia. Journal of Dementia Care, 30 (3). pp. 20-24. ISSN Print: 1351-8372

Bray, J., Evans, S.C. & Atkinson, T. (2022) Spreading the word: enablers and challenges to implementing a nature-based intervention for people living with dementia. Working with Older People

Atkinson, T., Oatley, R. & Evans, S. (2021). Living with dementia in Extra Care Housing. Journal of Dementia Care, 29(6), 10-11

Evans, S., Atkinson, T., Rogerson, M. & Bray, J. (2021). Nature-based activities for people living with dementia: a nice day out or a matter of human rights? Working with Older People, 26(1) ISSN: 1366-3666

Henderson, C., Rehill, A., Brooker, D., Evans, S.C., Evans, S.B., Bray, J. Saibene, F., Scorolli, C., Szczesniak, D., d'Arma, A., Lion, K., Atkinson, T., Farina, E., Rymaszewska, J., Chattat, R., Meiland, F., Droes, R., Knapp, M. (2021). Costs and Cost-Effectiveness of the Meeting Centres Support Programme for People Living with Dementia in Italy, Poland and the UK: The MEETINGDEM Study. Health and Social Care in the Community

Hendriks, I., Demetrio, R., Meiland, F., Chattat, R., Szczesniak, D., Rymaszewska, J., Evans, S.B., Brooker, D., Evans, S.C., Atkinson, T., Farina, E., Saibene, F., Ettema, T., Gerritsen, D. & Droes, R. (2021). Value of personalized dementia-specific QOL scales; an explorative study in 3 European countries. American Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Other Dementias

Morton, T., Wong, G., Atkinson, T. & Brooker, D. (2021). Sustaining community-based interventions for people affected by dementia long term: the SCI-Dem realist review. BMJ Open

Frost, F., Atkinson, T. and Latham, I. (2020). Creating the optimal space for dementia care. The Care Environment Magazine

Bray, J., Atkinson, T., Latham, I. & Brooker, D. (2019). Practice of Namaste Care for people living with dementia in the UK. Nursing Older People, 31(1), 22-28.

Cameron, A., Johnson, E., Evans, S., Lloyd, L., Darton, R., Smith, R., Porteus, J. & Atkinson, T. (2019). ‘You have got to stick to your times’: Care workers and managers’ experiences of working in extra care housing, Health and Social Care in the Community. 2019; 00: 1– 8. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12871

Cameron, A., Johnson, E., Lloyd, L., Evans, S., Smith, R., Porteus, J., Darton, R. & Atkinson, T. (2019). Using longitudinal qualitative research to explore extra care housing, International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 14:1.

Evans, S.C., Barrett, J., Mapes, N., Hennell, J., Atkinson, T., Bray, J., Garabedian, C. & Russell, C. (2019). Connections with nature for people living with dementia. Working with Older People, https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-01-2019-0003

Evans, S.C., Waller, S., Bray, J. & Atkinson, T. (2019). Making Homes More Dementia-Friendly through the Use of Aids and Adaptations. Healthcare, 7(1) 43.

Johnson, E.K., Cameron, A., Lloyd, L., Evans, S., Darton, R., Smith, R., Atkinson, T. and Porteus, J. (2019). Ageing in extra-care housing: preparation, persistence and self-management at the boundary between the third and fourth age. Ageing & Society 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X19000849

Morton, T., Atkinson, T., Brooker, D., Wong, G., Evans, S. & Kennard, C. (2019). Sustainability of community-based interventions for people affected by dementia: a protocol for the SCI-Dem realist review. BMJ Open 9(7)

Brooker, D., Evans, S., Evans, S., Bray, J., Sabine, F., Scorolli, C., Szcześniak, D., d'Arma, A., Urbańska, K., Atkinson, T., Farina, E., Rymaszewska, J., Chattat, R., Henderson, C., Rehill, A., Hendriks, I., Meiland, F. & Dröes, R. (2018). Evaluation of the implementation of the Meeting Centres Support Program in Italy, Poland, and the UK; exploration of the effects on people with dementia. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 1–10.

Evans, S., Atkinson, T., Cameron, A., Johnson, E., Smith, R., Darton, R., Porteus, J. & Lloyd, L. (2018). Can extra care housing support the changing needs of older people living with dementia? Dementia, online.

Smith, R., Darton, R., Cameron, A., Johnson, E., Lloyd, L., Evans, S., Atkinson, T. and Porteus, J. (2017). Outcomes-based commissioning for social care in extra care housing: is there a future? Housing, Care and Support, 20(2), 60-70.


Morton, T., Brooker, D., Wong, G., Atkinson,T & Evans, S.B . (2021) Keeping community groups and activities going - Sustainable Community Interventions for people affected by Dementia: Recommendations for practice from the SCI-Dem Project. University of Worcester ISBN 978-0-903607-33-9

Morton, T., Brooker, D., Wong, G., Atkinson, T. & Evans, S.B. (2021) Sustaining community groups and activities for people affected by dementia: Recommendations from the SCI-Dem Project for commissioners and policy-makers. University of Worcester ISBN 978-0-903607-34-6

Morton, T., Brooker, D., Wong, G., Atkinson, T. & Evans, S.B. (2021) Helping your community group or activity club to keep going strong: Suggestions for members of groups and clubs from the SCI-Dem Review. University of Worcester ISBN 978-0-903607-35-3

Input to: Alzheimer's Disease International (2020) World Alzheimer Report 2020: Design, Dignity, Dementia: dementia-related design and the built environment volume 1 (Evans, S., Waller, S., Atkinson, T.)

Atkinson, T. and Bray, J. (2019). Dementia Carers Count: Evaluation of the Dementia Carer's Support Courses. Dementia Carer's Support Courses: Impact Report. Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester

Atkinson, T. and Bray, J. (2019). Dementia Carers Count: Looking after the Big Fish. Dementia Carers Count Trainers: Process Report. Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester

Evans, S.C., Bray, J., Waller, S. and Atkinson, T. (2018). An independent evaluation of the Dementia Dwelling Grants pilot programme: Final report. Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester

Invited Conference Presentations 

Brooker, D., Evans, S.C., Atkinson, T. & Barrett, J. (2021), Enhancing the evidence base for person-centred dementia care. Research Seminar Series, University of Worcester online

Evans, S.E., Depledge, V. & Atkinson, T. (2020), Recognising the value of connecting with nature for people living with dementia. UK Dementia Congress, online (video)

Morton, T. & Atkinson, T. (2020), How to keep community groups and activities going: the SCI-Dem review. UK Dementia Congress, online (video)

Atkinson, T. (2019), Ensuring People With Dementia Are Cared For In An Environment That Is Adaptable To Their Needs And Preferences. The Future Of The Care Home Sector Conference, London

Atkinson, T. (2018), Embodying 'home' through design for dementia. The design, planning and politics of how and where we live, Bristol

Atkinson, T. (2018), Living with dementia in extra care housing. ECHO Conference, Bristol

Atkinson, T. (2018), Extra Care Supported Housing for Dementia. Centre for Dementia Seminar Series, Nottingham

Atkinson, T. (2018), Design and environments. Health and Wellbeing Innovation Commission Inquiry: Built environment including transport, planning and design, London

Atkinson, T. (2018), Assessing and establishing standards in design quality. Environment and Design Conference, Salford

Atkinson, T. (2018), Dementia design workshop. Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, Swansea

Evans, S.C. & Atkinson, T. (2018), Innovative housing for later life or the new residential care? Exploring the future of extra care housing (ECHO). BSG 47th Annual Conference: Ageing in an Unequal World - Shaping Environments for the 21st Century, Manchester

Atkinson. T. (2017), Environmental design for people living with dementia. The British Society of Gerontology 46th Annual Conference: Do not go gentle - Gerontology and a good age, Swansea

Atkinson, T. (2017), Enabling Environments: Small changes can help residents live well with dementia. Annual Best Practice in Care Homes Conference, Birmingham 

External Responsibilities

External Examiner for University of South Wales MSc Dementia Studies

Current Research Steering Groups LIST

  • Chair of Design, Environments & Technology cluster group
  • Member of HDRC
  • Member of Dementia & Housing Working Group
  • Member of Higher Education Dementia Network (HEDN)