A new project is up and running!

Last week Senior Research Fellow Teresa Atkinson and Research Assistant Jen Bray got to go on a road trip to East Sussex to carry out the first stage of data collection on a new research project. They headed down to a new Abbeyfield housing scheme which is a care-enabled scheme – different to our previous experiences of extra care housing – that fits with Abbeyfield’s goals for combatting loneliness and social isolation. The scheme has developed a Community Link Worker role with the aim of enabling tenants who may be at risk of social isolation to enjoy an enriched lifestyle, reduce the impact of loneliness, and improve wellbeing.

Artist's impression of the new scheme, showing a large 3-storey building surrounded by trees, shrubs and blue skies
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A Conversation with…

A Conversation with…Tracey Williamson, Graham Galloway, Sue Hinds, Hannah Sweeney and Dr Shirley Evans

Empowered Conversations have been organising a series of weekly webinars during lockdown, and the last one before the summer break took place on 22nd July. In a slightly different format from normal, this webinar comprised Emma Smith from Empowered Conversations chairing a panel of professionals who have been ‘Shifting support for families affected by dementia from face-to-face to virtual support’.

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Update on the CHARM project – put on hold due to COVID-19

CHARM logo

Here at the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), we’re working on the CHARM (Care Home Action Researcher-in-residence Model) research project. It’s funded for a year by the Alzheimer’s Society and the Dunhill Medical Trust and aims to help care homes become ‘research-ready’; to understand how evidence-based practice can be developed and implemented. We work closely with four care homes each from different provider organisations (Care UK, Hallmark Care Homes, Sanctuary Care and Assured Healthcare Solutions) to help them choose, design, carry out and share their own research projects. It’s all done in-house by staff, residents and visitors, with help from two “Researchers in Residence” from ADS.

The four care homes did brilliantly well in their first 6 months and it’s been a fun and fascinating journey for all. In particular, it’s been a real challenge for us researchers; testing our research knowledge and making us think on our feet at every visit. In that respect, COVID-19 was just another challenge we needed to find a way around! As a team, we’re very familiar with working in care homes and so we knew early on that COVID-19 would create a lot of stress and challenges for the care homes and we were determined that CHARM would not add to that pressure. At our 3rd of 5 whole group training days at the beginning of March 2020 we agreed a contingency plan with our care homes, which meant it was ready to go as soon as we were no longer able visit and when they needed to suspend their research projects to focus on their core care home work.

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CHARM update – March team training day

Following on from a previous blog, the third team training day for the CHARM project took place at the beginning of March with 12 care home staff members and 2 members of research team (Isabelle Latham and Faith Frost).

In the style of previous CHARM blogs, the following series of images illustrates what was covered on the day.

Slide introducing the training day

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Wear to Care: A person-centred exploratory study of care staff clothing in care homes for people living with dementia

We’ve just started a new project looking at uniforms, so thought we’d let you know a bit more about it.

Why are we looking at uniforms?

While most care home staff wear uniforms at work, an ambition to make care homes feel less formal has led some organisations to remove uniforms from their care homes. There is also a body of opinion that uniforms create an ‘us & them’ barrier between staff and residents, and having everyone in normal clothing creates a more friendly atmosphere with less of a power imbalance.

Conversely, many staff feel their uniform gives them a sense of professionalism and that residents find it more reassuring to receive personal care from someone in uniform. There are also costs associated with wearing one’s own clothes to work. Some families like the non-uniform style while others find it confusing not being able to immediately identify a member of staff. Additionally, badges are part of a uniform and can also help with identification, but corporate logos can often take priority over a person’s name.

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Art for Art’s Sake? – Art and music in Kirrie Connections Meeting Centre

Kirrie Connections

Kirriemuir, birthplace of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, is home to Kirrie Connections Meeting Centre which is based in the centre of the town. Kirrie Connections is a dementia friendly community hub which is open five days a week and has been operating as a Meeting Centre on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays since May 2019.

For the ‘Bring Your Own Lunch’ seminar on 28th February Graham Galloway, manager at Kirrie Connections Meeting Centre, told us about some of the arts-based projects that have taken place there. (Many thanks to Graham for sharing the photographs with us, and any mistakes in the following are ours and not Graham’s!)

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CHARM update – team training day

It’s a slightly different blog from us this week as we’re using a series of images to represent a training day that took place before Christmas as part of the CHARM project. 15 care home staff members attended the training which was run by three member of the Association for Dementia Studies‘ research team: Dr Isabelle Latham, Professor Tracey Williamson and Faith Frost.

The first title slide
Welcome to the day

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Reflecting on 2019 – celebrating success

As 2019 rapidly draws to an end (How did that happen? I’m sure it was only May a few weeks ago!) we’re taking a brief pause to look back at some of the highlights* from the past year. Projects ending, projects starting, new education ventures, articles, conferences, special occasions and awards, 2019 has had it all.

* There’s been a lot going on this year and we don’t have time to mention it all, so apologies to anyone who feels we’ve missed something out!

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Throwback Thursday – Connecting Communities

For this Throwback Thursday we’re looking at Connecting Communities, a 27-month pilot project delivered by the Alzheimer’s Society with funding from the Department of Health. The Association for Dementia Studies was commissioned to undertake an external evaluation of the project.

What was the background to the project?

The number of people with dementia from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities is expected to increase at a greater rate than across the UK population as a whole. Raising awareness of dementia and risk factors that can be more common in some BAME communities could help to reduce the number of people with dementia from those communities in the future and reduce barriers to accessing services.

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ADS at UK Dementia Congress

Last week the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) travelled to Doncaster for UK Dementia Congress 2019 which was held at the racecourse.

The ADS stand

The event was opened with Professor Dawn Brooker introducing two of our TAnDem PhD students, Ruby Swift and Karen Gray, who talked about their work. They were followed by a relatively intense debate around the role of ‘environmental lies’ in care homes (e.g. fake bus stops, murals).

Dawn, Ruby and Karen presenting

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