Yesterday found me heading for Leeds Beckett University. I offered to be a monitor for this interesting study on living with dementia and having a diagnosis of cancer. The Alzheimer’s society funded research always have a team of 3 research monitors where possible on each project. Our aim is to encourage, offer advice and sometimes simply listen and share in their successes and challenges faced.
My 2 partners in monitoring for this project are Annabella and Anne
I was very lucky as the student undertaking the project lives close by and so was able to trundle me in her car instead of navigating the trains…..
And so it was that Rebecca picked me up at the agreed time. We had a lovely drive to Leeds and I was able to get to know Rebecca. She’s only just started her PhD and it’s wonderful to be involved with her at the start of her study. Today was her third day!
Her study is looking at the care and support needs of those in residential care homes who have both dementia and cancer.
We arrived at Leeds Beckett and had a cuppa before heading to the room. I was very impressed with Leeds Beckett as Yorkshire Tea is everywhere, even in the student cafe – so I’m glad to see education has got it right in Leeds…..👍⭐️🤓
We were met by my lovely Twitter friend Professor Claire Surr, Dr Rachael Kelley, both supervisors for Rebecca…..and Professor Alan White who has a special interest in Cancer. Can’t believe I forgot to take a group photo🙈
Anne and Annabella soon joined the party and we started off with cuppa teas and cake….
The aims of the project were detailed nicely in a slide
Rebecca’s background is marketing and public relations but has changed tack due to family connection with dementia and brings lots of different skills with her.
The project sits within the Themes of Leeds Becket and come under the theme of Dementia Care and services. It fits in so well with the other studies in hospital and Nursing home settings.
The combination of dementia and cancer throws up so many issues such as pain identification, symptoms being due to cancer or dementia and simply remembering you have cancer and many many more, making caring for someone a complex process.
Rebecca took us through her plans for her 3 years. She was very well organised which is a good start for any PhD!
Year 1 is a setting the scene year
I loved the simple way Rebecca laid out her slides with wonderful piccies to accompany.
I didn’t know what ethnography meant and found out it’s ‘observing’ and knowing what and how to observe but also knowing when to stop.
There’s a limit to the amount of time you have to spend on observing the experience of the person so there’s a limit to how many care homes you can visit so the limit has been set at 3- 6.
PhD students have the advantage of coming from the angle of learning and gaining access to e.g. Care homes, is often made easier because of this and they’re often welcome as long as they see a benefit and value in what’s being researched.
Year 2 – once ethics has gone through, was all about recruitment and had the cutest slide
They’ll also be a lot of interesting gender information that comes out of this. Professor Alan has an interest in gender and told us some wonderful facts which I wasn’t quick enough to type…..
The essence of Ethnography is listening to stories and observing , not interviewing.
Thinking of the location for talking and observing especially when interviewing supporters is important.
We then moved onto the role that we will play as Research Network Volunteers
We went through our expectations and Me, Annabella and Anne all contributed lots of questions and suggestions……there was so much enthusiasm and experience in the room that will be invaluable to Rebecca.
It’s only day 3 of her PhD so I could see her head exploding with the amount of information coming out of the meeting but I’m sure she will be so well supported and hopefully we too can be of help
We’re in the wonderful position of going through this amazing project with Rebecca but without the pain of having to do all the work. It felt like everyone, including Rebecca was on a high by the end of the meeting.
Professor Alan also came up with the quote of the day looking at all the cakes on the table……..
“I have a very strong will and a very weak won’t” 🤣😂