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Driving improvements in dementia care

Helping to improve the lives of people with dementia is at the heart of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week – and the University of Hull is demonstrating its support by taking research and expertise out into the community.

As part of the University’s commitment to driving improvements to the health of the region and beyond, researchers and clinicians are helping to raise awareness and sharing their insights into enhancing health and care practice for those with dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, it is estimated that one person develops dementia every three minutes in the UK.

Professor Julie Jomeen, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull, said: “The goal of Dementia Action Week is to encourage people to take action to improve the lives of those affected by dementia, working to create a dementia-friendly UK where those with dementia do not feel isolated.

“As a University, we conduct high-calibre research into dementia care to help families and carers to cope and healthcare professionals to provide the highest standards of care and support.

“We are dedicated to making a difference by driving improvements to healthcare in the region and in the UK as a whole – and work closely with the region’s NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups to improve the lives of those living with dementia.”

Professor Julie Jomeen, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences 

The University is helping to advance dementia healthcare though its research and outreach work.

Dr Emma Wolverson will be taking part in a dementia discussion panel on BBC Radio Humberside on Thursday 24 May at 10am.

Dr Wolverson has been recognised for her work on dementia and has just been announced the winner of the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Research Leader Award for ‘Outstanding contribution to early career dementia research’.

Her commitment is demonstrated through her leadership in the European research project which is helping to provide an online support network for people living with memory problems, their caregivers and health professionals. A digital platform, known as CAREGIVERSPRO-MMD, has been designed to offer information, advice and support, as well as a social networking forum.

Working alongside universities in France, Spain and Italy, the University of Hull was selected as the only UK university to lead the UK pilot of the initiative.

Dr Wolverson said: “The digital platform and website have already been well received by those living with dementia and their partners and carers. We will be assessing the benefits of using CAREGIVERSPRO-MMD with a view to it being established as a resource that can be developed further to help future generations to feel supported and live with the condition as well as possible.

“The newsfeed section of the platform has already proved popular with carers and people living with memory loss. During Dementia Action week, participants have been asked to post photos that reflect what it is like to live well with memory loss.”

Participants and the research team involved in the pan-European research project are also sharing their experiences and knowledge by talking about memory loss this week in Hull city centre. Research Assistants, Rosie Dunn and Rebecca Platt, will be at St Stephen’s shopping centre with the Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust Research and Development team and Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group on Friday 25 May from 10am to 3pm promoting current dementia research studies.

The University’s Professor of Clinical Psychology of Ageing and Dementia, Esme Moniz-Cook is also responsible for instigating an influential national and international research network that originated in Hull in 1999 to improve care for those with dementia. The professor has published an important collaborative research study with Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust ‘Challenge Demcare’ on the Management of Dementia with clinically significant challenging behaviour at home and in care homes.Professor Moniz-Cook launched a British Psychological Society Briefing in Belfast last week with a call to action, based on findings from ‘Challenge Demcare’ on the use of evidence-based support for family carers who struggle with some of the difficult dementia-related symptoms in everyday life. 

Professor Moniz-Cook said: “Sometimes health services can misunderstand the nature of the challenges experienced by families … and families continue to try and manage significant difficulties on their own, until it’s too late to help their loved one to live at home with their support. Yet we have programmes that we know can prevent this.

“We hope that our e-tools and programmes hosted over the next year at the University of Hull will be embraced by practitioners who help those with dementia to cope with the challenges they, their families and their carers face.”

For further information, policy makers and leaders of care services are invited to contact Professor Moniz-Cook: E.D.Moniz-Cook@hull.ac.uk 

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