Dementia is undoubtedly one of the major health and social issues of our era. With 700,000 people living with dementia in 2013, and the number set to double by 2050, everyone knows someone with dementia. Research into dementia is an integral part of the National Dementia Strategy and the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge, and locally this has been recognised through the establishment of the Chair in Dementia Research through the partnership of the University of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Barchester Healthcare.
In May 2014, the Institute of Mental Health built on our excellent research base and programmes in dementia, by establishing a new centre of excellence in dementia. The centre's focus is on dementia as a pathway or a journey, which typically lasts for several years from the first onset of altered experience through diagnosis and early treatment eventually to long-term care and end of life issues. It may therefore be regarded as a developmental disorder – indeed a person may have dementia for about as long as they attended school.
Chair of the Centre for Dementia is Professor Tom Dening.
The VOICE Study (VideOing to Improve Communication through Education), started at the Institute of Mental Health in September 2015 and will run until November 2017.
People with dementia and those who work with them can experience difficulties in communicating and interacting and often, these problems are increased by an admission to hospital.
This study aims to find out what communication skills work best between healthcare professionals and people with dementia who have been admitted to hospital. The research team will video record conversations between healthcare professionals and people with dementia and will study the footage to find out which ways of communicating work best. An evidence based training course for healthcare professionals will then be developed.
For more information about this exciting research, visit the VOICE study pages of this website.
Improve Dementia Education and Awareness (IDEA) is a free online resource launched by the University of Nottingham, aimed at improving the care and quality of life of people with dementia. If you are a carer, care worker or health professional for a person with dementia, then the IDEA website is for you.
The website makes a range of quality courses and resources widely available, nationally and internationally.
It is targeted at all levels of expertise from family and friends who care for someone with dementia to qualified health professionals. IDEA also offers online discussion groups to allow users to exchange information around care and to support each other. The IDEA website can be accessed here.
An innovative project, which brought together ethnographic researchers with theatre practitioners to tackle the challenge of dementia care, led to the staging of a ground-breaking play at the Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham in June 2013.
The play, Inside Out of Mind, brilliantly illustrates the multiple realities of life on a dementia ward, and was a unique collaboration between Meeting Ground Theatre Company, Lakeside Arts Centre, the Institute of Mental Health and the NHS.
The play, written by Tanya Myers, was based on extensive and rigorous participant observation in dementia wards by researchers Simon Bailey, Kezia Scales and Joanne Lloyd (funded by a major NIHR research project), and took three years to evolve into a theatre production from the original research. Inside Out of Mind shows the dementia ward from the perspective of the patients, staff and visitors, and aims to impact positively on the care of those with dementia, and to encourage empathy and intuitive listening.
A total of 1,300 healthcare assistants attended the play and linked workshops for day-long conferences. Seven public performances have raised awareness in the media and general public about people with dementia and those who work with them.
Further information on dementia research is available on the University of Nottingham website.