Get involved

At the moment we’ve got three opportunities for people to get involved with our research activities, and although we’ve covered them in previous blogs we thought we’d bring them together to remind you of them in one place. In no particular order…

Get Real with Meeting Centres survey

As described in our ‘What do you value about Meeting Centres?’ blog, we’re looking for family members, friends and/or carers of people affected by dementia who attend Meeting Centres. We want to know about their experiences of Meeting Centres and also what their preferences are, to help us in our work looking at the sustainability of Meeting Centres.

Do you fit the bill? Could you share your views with us as part of this project? If yes, please complete the survey here. We’ve been able to extend the deadline for this survey, so it’s not too late.

CHARM Framework manual

When we put out our blog ‘The CHARM Framework manual has taken off!’ back in March, it had been downloaded around 700 times, which was brilliant. It has now been downloaded just over 900 times(!!), and we’re really interested to find out how people are using it in practice and what they think of it. Although it’s been developed from work in care homes, it’s principles are applicable in different settings too, so hopefully some of those downloads are from people who work in non-care home settings.

Have you downloaded a copy of the CHARM Framework manual? Can you spare five minutes to give us some feedback or suggest where the manual could be improved? If so, you can access the survey here. There is no closing date for this survey so you can get involved at any point.

Worcester Life Stories

We’re evaluating the impact of the ‘Know Your Place’ and ‘Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire’ platforms as part of our Worcester Life Stories project. You can find out more about the platforms in previous blogs such as ‘Revisiting two ‘new’ online platforms’, and you can also get involved. We’ve got two surveys open at the moment, one for each platform, to find out how people are using the platforms and what they’ve done as a result of using them. We realise that people need time to use the platforms before they can comment on them, so we’ve extended the deadline for a bit.

Have you had experience of using one or both platforms, either on your own or with others? Please click on the relevant link(s) below to get involved.

If you’re wondering whether or not to complete any of these surveys, here are a few bits of extra information:

  • All of the surveys are anonymous.
  • They are all quite short so shouldn’t take long to complete.
  • The Worcester Life Stories surveys have full project information at the start to fulfil the ethics requirements for that project.

Also, every response we get really is important and could help us make a difference. If you can’t complete any of our surveys, feel free to pass on the information to someone else who can. Thank you!

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

Did you see…?

We try to have a new blog post every week, but realise that it can be easy for some posts to be missed when life is busy or we’re caught up with work. Every now and again we like to take stock and do a quick recap of a few posts to give them a second chance to be seen. Here are the ones we’ve chosen this time:

  • How to use the environmental assessment tools – If you’ve seen us talking about the different environmental assessment tools we’ve got, but aren’t quite sure how to use them in practice, this is a good blog to look at. Don’t forget though, that since this blog post was written we’ve now got the garden assessment tool as well.
  • A roundup of the CHARM research projects – As part of the CHARM project multiple different research projects were carried out in care homes, and this handy blog post brings them all together in one post so you can see what went on. There’s also a link to the CHARM framework manual which you may find useful to have a copy of.
  • Finding out what people value about Meeting Centres – We’ve currently got a survey open for family members and carers of people with dementia who attend Meeting Centres to help us find out what is important to them. Information about the survey and a link to complete it can be found in this blog post.
  • Introducing CAMBUS – An initiative that started recently was the ‘Coffee and Memory Bus’ which is acting as a form of outreach for people with memory concerns in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. This blog post tells you more about what they offer and has a link to the website where you can find out where they’re going to be on what days.
  • 12 resources you should know about – In the run-up to Christmas (that feels like ages ago!) we told you about a different resource every day on social media then brought them together in one blog post. A handy one to look at if you need a quick reminder of the resources we’ve been involved with. You might even find ones that you didn’t realise existed but are really useful for what you’re doing.

So if you missed any of these the first time round please do take a look, or maybe you just want to remind yourself what they were about.

Don’t forget, you can look through all of our old blog posts by scrolling down, or by clicking on one of the ‘categories’ to the right of the page to see all posts about different topics.

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

The CHARM Framework manual has taken off!

Back in November we made the CHARM (Care home action researcher-in-residence model) Framework manual available to download and covered it in a blog at the beginning of January. While we always believed in it, it’s great to see that it’s really taken off with around 700 downloads in such a short space of time!

Front cover of the CHARM Framework manual
The CHARM Framework manual

Getting feedback on its impact

As it’s gained some traction, we’d really love to hear what you think of it and how you’re using it in practice. If you’ve already downloaded a copy, or are about to now that you know of it, we’d appreciate you taking the time to complete a very short feedback survey to help us assess its impact. If you’re interested in being part of this, please click on this link to access the survey.

Why is this important for us?

When we conduct research, we always want to know whether it’s actually having an impact in practice. It’s all well and good us producing the manual and it being downloaded, but if it sits on someone’s computer or shelf without actually being used, it’s not really doing any good! That’s why we need to hear from you. What are you actually doing with the manual in practice? How is it making a difference to you, your residents/patients/clients, and their families? What changes have you made as a result of downloading a copy of the CHARM Framework manual? Unless we hear back from you, we won’t know, so please do get involved with the survey to let us know what you’ve been doing.

We’d also like to get in touch with some of you in the future to find out a bit more detail about how the manual is being used and what difference it’s making, so you’ll notice at the end of the survey that we ask for some contact details if you’d happy to be part of this bit. While we don’t expect everyone to be up for this, it would be great if at least some of you would be willing to get involved.

The CHARM logo

If you’re not sure what CHARM is, let alone the CHARM Framework manual, please take a look at one of our previous blogs which should hopefully help! There is also more information about CHARM in a separate section on this blog site. Don’t forget, although the manual was developed based on a research project focusing on care homes, you don’t have to work in a care home to use it. We hope it’s useful in a variety of different settings, so take a look.

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

12 resources you should know about

Before Christmas, instead of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ we thought we’d tell everyone about a different resource each day. This was done on both our Twitter (@DementiaStudies) and Facebook (@adsuow) accounts, but in case you missed it or you’re not on social media we’ve pulled it all together here. We also think the resources are worth shouting about, so we make no apology for trying to let everyone know about them!

Resource 1

First off, the CHARM Manual, our newest resource. A FREE interactive, downloadable, step-by-step manual for conducting research in care homes. You can get a copy here.

Resource 2

Our second resource to bring to your attention is the gardens assessment tool ‘Is your garden dementia friendly?’ It’s the latest in the suite of assessment tools and you can download it for free via our website.

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The CHARM Framework: A step-by-step guide for care homes to conduct their own research projects

One of the main outputs from the CHARM (Care home action researcher-in-residence model) projects is a FREE interactive, downloadable step-by-step manual for conducting research in care homes. The CHARM Framework manual was created by Faith Frost, Dr Isabelle Latham and Professor Tracey Williamson.

The cover of the CHARM manual

The manual has been developed using the tools and experience gained from working with four care homes during the CHARM project and has been designed to be accessible for both new and experienced researchers! You can find out more about the CHARM project here.

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CHARM – round-up of the research projects

If you follow our blog you may have noticed several posts relating to the CHARM project, which we haven’t actually told you about. While you might be thinking it was a bit rude of us not to make more of them, don’t worry, it was part of a wider plan and now is their time to shine. We needed the posts to be made available in the interim from a CHARM project perspective but wanted to ‘launch’ them all officially in on go, so we’ve been deliberately sneaking them out under the radar until now.

As part of the CHARM project four care homes have been conducting mini-research projects, and the following posts show what they have been up to, so please have a read through them:

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Research Methods e-Festival: What is CHARM?

In this week’s blog Faith Frost talks about a recent presentation she was involved with last month. Over to Faith…


It was the 2021 Research Methods e-Festival last month, organised by NCRM and methods@manchester. We were pleased to be able to present the fantastic work that the CHARM team had been doing, showcase some of our initial findings from the study, and answer some interesting questions!

Dr Isabelle Latham took the lead in presenting as the senior researcher on the project, whilst I was on hand to respond to the comments pane. Izzie gave a great overview of why the CHARM project was needed and what the CHARM framework is.

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A rose by any other (shorter) name…

We have a habit of using abbreviations and acronyms within our work to make it easier to refer to some of the various projects we work on, but we realise that it can sometimes be confusing for others who may not know what we’re talking about! This blog introduces you to some of our current shorthand terms, providing a bit of extra information to hopefully make things clear.

ADS – A nice easy one to start with. This is us, the Association for Dementia Studies, ably led by Professor Dawn Brooker MBE since we began back in 2009.

The ADS logo
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What’s going on with the CHARM project?

So, “what happened to the CHARM project? – they’ve been awfully quiet,” I hear you ask. Isabelle Latham, the Project Manager is here to tell you!

CHARM logo

We’re still here and have been beavering away in the background, but – as with many research projects involving care homes – the pandemic has required a lot of persistence, flexibility, support and experimentation to try and keep the project on track!

CHARM start back in October 2019. The aim of the project is to use a “researcher-in-residence” model where experienced researchers support staff, visitors and residents in 4 care homes to design and implement their own unique and meaningful research projects, and then to evaluate how well that approach works.

Everything started swimmingly. We met together as a whole team for our research training days in December 2019 and March 2020, and in between times the care homes consulted planned and prepared to begin their first mini projects. We had projects on communication, making the most of mealtimes, finding out about life history and using the Pool Activity Level Tool to enhance care. In early March 2020, all our care homes were through the planning stages of our Action-Research cycle and JUST about to start collecting data for their projects and THEN…

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UK Dementia Congress: Coming together in a virtual space

As academic sponsor, UK Dementia Congress is a big deal for the Association for Dementia Studies, but obviously with the current situation getting large numbers of people together in a conference was not going to happen. The conference therefore moved online and was held virtually from 10th to 12th November. Congratulations to the Journal of Dementia Care for organising it all and getting it up and running. This blog provides an overview of the various presentations ADS was part of, but also reflects on some of the differences between a virtual and face-to-face conference.

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