Well yesterday’s weather couldn’t have been more different. Whereas On Tuesday, everyone had arrived at the station all bright and sunny to match the weather, so today everyone arrived liked drown rats as it was a very soggy morning.
I was travelling to Bradford again, but this time for the launch of the Doctoral Training Centre. The Alzheimer’s society has funded this centre in partnership to allow the training of new researchers into dementia for the future. It’s so important to encourage and fund this new generation of researchers and encourage them into the field of dementia.
I was involved with the interviews for the students and it was so refreshing and encouraging to hear their enthusiasm for what lies ahead. It’s also important for them to have access to people like me, with dementia and the supporters of those living with dementia, as then they can see and hear first hand, the issues we have. It also enables them to ask questions first hand of people directly affected..
Anyway, back to the event. It was due to start at 11 with 4 quick speeches, from the wonderful Professor Murna Downs – Head of the Dementia Centre, Dr Doug Brown from the Alzheimers society, The Deputy Vice Chancellor and me. My few words were around the importance of including people with dementia in their learning. I spied the wonderful Barbara Woodward-Carlton at Leeds station so we made the rest of the journey together. We got to our destination to the sight of cups of tea – perfect start. Dr Doug Brown and Adrian Bradley from the Alzheimers society and various other people came over and said hello, which was nice.
We all made our way down to the auditorium and Murna started the event by referring to the students as “ the research leaders of the future” before introducing the initial panel of speakers.
I then spoke of the value to all of including people like myself.
The Vice Chancellor, then enthused about this wonderful opportunity given to Bradford and how the department had:
“Impacted on people across the world”
Doug Brown – representing the Alzheimers society as founders of the doctoral centre said, quite rightly that:
“Implementing the findings into practice is just as important as the research itself” and
“Care research is not just a stop gap until we get new treatments”
‘Care research’ is often seen as the poor second cousin to biomedical research but for me it’s the most important and one whereby positive achievements can actually be made, but implementing nuggets of best practice has to be a priority.
It was then the turn of the students along with their supervisors to inform us all about the work they’ve been doing
It’s a case of understanding the transition levels of dementia and how can we make the path easier to navigate.
Courtney went onto talk about her doctorate – ‘Optimising the Transition from Home to Hospital’. Enhancing the quality of care between care partners during unscheduled admission.
Andrea and Akhlak next spoke of the public involvement strategy – “active involvement” – not in a ‘tokenistic way’.
Those voices that are less often heard are also important – we need to make sure we include the whole spectrum using alternative methods – e.g. By using pictures and observations. “There’s always a way of engaging people at all stages of dementia and from all communities.”
Barbara and Denise spoke of the Holistic approach to the lived experience – social space, marriage, physical space – what is the daily life really like of people living with dementia?
Final student was Suzanne with Sarah Jane Smith, her supervisor
Her doctorate is on ‘Medicines optimisation for people living with dementia’
“Using medication to support the quality of life”
The research being carried out by all 4 students is all interrelated – it was wonderful to see their enthusiasm and pride in talking about their work so far – even though it was nerve wracking for them all!
The Question and answer session was lively and interesting around early diagnosis,drug use and research into prevention.
Murna had the final say before we all headed off for a welcome lunch and chance to talk to everyone. It was so nice to see so many people from so many specialties present. It will be so good to see how the students progress…
AND Murna gave me a bunch of these lovely flowers which had brightened up the tables and had been donated – another perfect day at Bradford……..