Research training to improve care for people with dementia and carers

Research project: Intervention development for Alzheimer’s Clinical Training (INTERACT)

Lead Investigator:  Professor Linda Clare 
Institution: University of Exeter 
Grant type: Clinical Training Partnership
Duration: 36 months 
Amount: £225,000

Why did we fund this research? 

Comments from our Research Network:

'As a former carer, I would want to know and have as much help and information as possible in order to cope.

An interesting proposal which combines much needed training with practical results.'

What do we already know?

People with dementia and their carers face many challenges throughout the course of the condition. For example, it can be difficult to understand how dementia is affecting the person’s ability to carry out everyday activities, or the impact on the physical and mental health implications for family carers. They may need support from their GPs and care homes to help manage these challenges. 

Currently these areas of unmet need have little resources available to overcome these challenges. Healthcare workers need opportunities to gain research skills so that they can contribute to developing new approaches to improve care and support for people affected by dementia and making sure that they are put into everyday practice.

One way to do this is to provide training for healthcare workers such as nurses who understand the experience of people with dementia and their carers. This will create opportunities to develop useful resources, therapies and provide better access to dementia research.  

What does this project involve?

In this programme, three dementia healthcare workers will receive research training and undertake individual research projects. Each of these workers will have a good understanding of the experience of people affected by dementia. The projects will involve developing tools and resources around the areas of unmet need. 

The three projects are:

  • Addressing how difficulties with awareness can impact everyday activities. This will be achieved by reviewing current measures used and looking at interventions used in other groups. This will help to develop a new intervention for people with dementia. 
  • Supporting carers whose relative has moved into a care home. They will look at support provided by current care homes and understand the factors that make it more difficult to provide support for carers. This will help to develop a support program. 
  • Helping care home staff engage with residents in activities such as social interaction and music therapies. This will involve developing an activities decision making toolkit with input from family carers’ focus groups. 

This training will help to develop future Dementia Research Leaders and help to support further work. 

How will this project help people living with dementia? 

The study will help to ensure that research is relevant to the needs of people with dementia and carers, and can be translated easily into everyday healthcare practice.

Developing and implementing effective therapies that are based on good research evidence would help to improve the quality of care for people with dementia and their family members going forwards.