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Dementia research

The Centre for Applied Dementia Studies is one of the UK’s leading centres for psychosocial research into living well with, and caring well for, people with dementia and their families.

We have over 20 years experience of high quality pioneering research underpinned by the values of person-centred care.

Our research aims to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia by influencing policy and practice. We have a major impact through, for example:

  • Our model of Person-Centred Care (PCC), proposed by Professor Tom Kitwood in the 1990s and still developing and evolving. The model is widely accepted nationally and internationally, and embedded in policy such as National Institute of Clinical Excellence Guidelines 
  • Our observational measure and practice development methodology, Dementia Care Mapping (DCM). Since 2008, 3616 practitioners have been trained in DCM in the UK and a further 3189 internationally. DCM is endorsed by the National Audit Office, and regulators use our DCM derivative, the Short Observational Framework for Inspection (SOFI) to audit care


  • Our co-editing of the landmark text book, Excellence in Dementia Care, now in its second edition

Our areas of research focus include Living Well with Dementia and Improving the Quality of Care for People with Dementia.

Living Well with Dementia reflects research interest in the experience, for the person and their family, of living with dementia from diagnosis through to end-of-life, including experience of rarer, and young onset dementias.

Our research has received funding from a range of organisations including the ERSC, MRC, NIHR, Alzheimer Society and Department of Health.

We have a growing number of doctoral students across the Faculty exploring aspects of Dementia including those sponsored by BUPA and the Alzheimer Society. The Centre for Applied Dementia Studies convenes a monthly applied inter-disciplinary dementia meeting with visiting speakers from partners internationally, nationally and regionally.



New Interventions for Independence in Dementia Study

Most people with dementia want to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible. One way that this can be done is through visits by paid home care workers. However, Alzheimer’s Society’s Fix Dementia Care campaign found that that only 2% of people affected by dementia believed home care workers had sufficient dementia training.

This Alzheimer’s Society funded Centre of Excellence will develop and test evidence based training and support programmes to help family (NIDUS-family) and paid home carers (NIDUS-professional) to provide high quality care to people living with dementia. These programmes have been co-developed with family carers, people living with dementia, home carers and health professionals.

Led by Professor Claudia Cooper at UCL, the research is being run in close partnership with the University of Bradford; it is also working closely with Anglia Ruskin University, Kings College London, University of Exeter and the home care agencies SweetTree and Jewish Care.

Visit the NIDUS Study website >>

Logo of the Nidus

We are recruiting family carers and people living with dementia for NIDUS study

The IDEAL Programme

Recent government policy has prioritised living well as a goal for people who have dementia and their primary carers (usually family members). However, there is no clear definition of what it means to 'live well' with conditions such as dementia and no clear understanding of the factors that might influence the ability of individuals and families to live well. There is a need to examine not just what it is like living with dementia, but the social and environmental context for people. Little is known about how people with dementia and their carers make sense of and adapt to the condition and to the changes they experience over time.

The IDEAL programme explores people’s experiences of living well with dementia. Led by Prof Linda Clare at the University of Exeter, IDEAL has been as been running since 2014 and will continue until 31st December 2022. Dr Catherine Quinn, from the Centre of Applied Dementia Studies, is a Co-Investigator on IDEAL.

IDEAL is a longitudinal cohort study that follows a group of people living with dementia and their family carers to explore the group’s experiences over time. This study uses a mixed methods approach to find out what social and psychological factors support or hinder the ability of people and their families to live well with dementia.

The IDEAL programme baseline began with 1547 people with dementia and 1283 carers (mostly family members or friends) who provide support throughout Great Britain. The study has two phases: IDEAL (funded by the ESRC/NIHR 2014-2019) and IDEAL-2 (funded by the Alzheimer’s Society 2018-2022). The IDEAL programme is support by the ALWAYs (Action on Living Well: asking You) involvement group, comprising of people with dementia and carers who advise on different aspects of the project based on their personal experience, skills and expertise. For more information about the ALWAYs group see:

For more information about the IDEAL programme please see the study website:

The INCLUDE study

The INCLUDE study, funded by the ESRC, is Led by Prof Linda Clare at the University of Exeter, Dr Catherine Quinn, from the Centre of Applied Dementia Studies, is a Co-Investigator on INCLUDE.


In the INCLUDE study we aim to understand the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic and the resulting restrictions on people with dementia and their carers, and to develop resources to address the negative and potentially harmful effects of this situation. We will invite people with dementia and carers participating in the ongoing IDEAL programme to take part in INCLUDE.

The goals of INCLUDE are:

1. To identify the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia and carers.

2. To understand reciprocal dyadic influences - how a given impact on the person with dementia affects the carer and vice versa.

3. To build on this evidence to create resources to support the social, mental and physical health and relationships of community-dwelling people with dementia and their family carers and provide guidance to health, social care and voluntary sector staff.


To find out more about the INCLUDE study please see the study website:

Journeying through Dementia

Journeying through Dementia was a large-scale research study that aimed to find out whether attending a 12-week programme could support people in the early stages of dementia to continue living healthy, fulfilling lives.  The Journeying through Dementia programme involved twelve weekly community based group sessions with two trained health practitioners and four individual one-to-one sessions with one of those practitioners. People attending the programme could involve a supporter (usually a family member or friend) if they liked, but they did not have to.

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research - Health Technology Assessment (14/140/80). It commenced in December 2015 and ran for four years up until November 2019. The award was held in partnership with Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust and took place across thirteen UK sites, working in collaboration with a number of NHS trusts and Universities.

480 people living with dementia and 350 supporters across thirteen areas in the midlands and north of England took part. 

This was a randomised controlled trial (RCT) with half of the study participants receiving the Journeying through Dementia programme and half not.  All those recruited to take part helped us by completing questionnaires to find out if those who received the programme benefitted compared to those who did not receive the programme. Everyone in the study continued to receive the care and treatment that they would have usually received.

elderly ladies watching

Film of the trial results

Watch the short (9 min) film describing the intervention, clinical trial and the results.


Film of the JtD final dissemination event

Watch a longer film of the presentations given during the final dissemination event, 6th December 2020, Bradford City Hall. 


Better Health in Residents in Care Homes

This study aims to develop and test a complex intervention to reduce rates of avoidable hospital admissions from nursing homes.

It is funded by a National Institute for Health Research programme grant. The study started on June 1 2015 and will last 3 years and 3 months. Information will be gathered in London and in West Yorkshire.

Find out more about BHiRCH >>

How dementia affects information processing

Professor in Dementia Studies and Head of the School of Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford, Murna Downs, explains how Dementia affects information processing and the ways research is making a real world impact in care settings.

Caregiving HOPE

Caregiving HOPE explores how obligations, preparedness and eagerness influences care and wellbeing. This research is supported by an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Research Leaders fellowship awarded to Dr Sahdia Parveen in 2015.

There are currently 670,000 carers supporting a family member living with dementia. With an ageing population, more and more family members will be relied upon to support people living with dementia at home.

Health care professionals often assume those family members are willing and able to care for a person with dementia at home. However little is known about how willing and prepared carers of people with dementia feel and whether the next generation is prepared to support people living with dementia at home.

Visit our Caregiving HOPE page >>

The 4D Project

Diagnosing and Detecting types of Dementia and Delirium in the community

This study aims to:

  1. Develop a scoring aid for healthcare professionals to distinguish between different types of dementia in memory services. 
  2. Explore how health / social care professionals and family carers detect and manage when a person living with dementia also has delirium.

It is funded by Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust through the National Institute for Health Research, Research Capability Funding grant. The study started in October 2018 and will last for nine months. Information will be gathered in Sheffield only.

Find out more about this project.



The ANGELA Project

Improving diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for younger people living with dementia and their families/supporters.

The ANGELA Project is a national study which aims to improve diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for younger people with dementia and their families/supporters. The project is dedicated to Angela who was diagnosed with dementia at 51 years of age. She had symptoms for 3 years before getting a confirmed diagnosis.

The ANGELA Project is a three-year partnership between University College London (Leading Partner), University of Bradford, University of Northampton, and University of Surrey. The study commenced on the 1st of December 2016 and is taking place in collaboration with 15 key NHS sites in the North, Midlands, and South of the country. External collaborators include YoungDementia UK and Dementia UK.

The ANGELA Project is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society (ref: 278, AS-PG 15b-034) and comprises the following work-streams:

  • Work-stream 1, which aims to provide guidance for accurate diagnosis
  • Work-stream 2, which seeks to provide guidance for improving the services and support offered after diagnosis

Learn more about the ANGELA Project >>


Research to Assess Policies and Strategies for Dementia in the Young

The main goal of RHAPSODY is to improve care for people with Young Onset Dementia by supporting their carers. The project aims to create and evaluate an educational, web-based, interactive e-learning programme which is tailored to the needs of this particular group of people.

The project is an EU Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) project which includes eight partner institutions from six countries– France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The UK contribution is being funded by the ESRC. JPND is the largest global research initiative aimed at tackling the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases. JPND aims to increase coordinated investment between participating countries in research aimed at finding causes, developing cures, and identifying appropriate ways to care for those with neurodegenerative diseases.

The overall lead for RHAPSODY is Professor Alexander Kurz from the Technological University of Munich and the UK lead is Professor Heather Gage from the University of Surrey. Professor Jan Oyebode from the School of Dementia Studies, University of Bradford, contributes clinical and qualitative research expertise to the UK group.


RHAPSODY has four major aims.

  • To evaluate the policy and information environment that provides the framework for the treatment and care of people with YOD and their carers in six European countries.
  • To assess the specific and individual needs of this particular group.
  • To use this information to design an internet-based, multimedia, interactive learning course for carers of people with YOD.
  • To test this learning course in a pilot study at three sites in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, assessing feasibility, acceptance and user satisfaction.

The results of RHAPSODY will provide a basis for developing strategies to improve treatment and care for people with YOD and their carers. Information will be made available as to which services are best suited to meet the needs of this underserved group. RHAPSODY will deliver a model of a user-friendly, universally accessible and cost-effective type of healthcare intervention. The learning course will be made available to organisations working with people with dementia across Europe as a complement to existing services. Selected modules of the learning course will also be used in the training of healthcare professionals. Thus, RHAPSODY will contribute to increasing awareness and competence while reducing stigma with regard to YOD. 

Visit the main study website.


Evaluating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Dementia Care Mapping™  (DCM™) to enable person-centred care for people with dementia and their carers: A cluster randomised controlled trial in care homes (EPIC trial).

The EPIC trial is a large multi-centre trial led by Professor Claire Surr at Leeds Beckett University. Professor Murna Downs, Head of the School of Dementia Studies is a co- applicant on the project and, with Ms Juni West, is responsible for ensuring implementation of the DCM intervention.

The study is funded by the Health Technology Assessment Programme of the National Institute for Health Research (project number 11/15/13).

The EPIC trial is a large multi-centre trial led by Professor Claire Surr at Leeds Beckett University. Professor Murna Downs is a co- applicant on the project and, with Ms Juni West, is responsible for ensuring implementation of the DCM intervention.

The study is funded by the Health Technology Assessment Programme of the National Institute for Health Research (project number 11/15/13).

At least two-thirds of people living in care homes have dementia and many develop distressing behaviours such as agitation. Distressing behaviours such as agitation have been linked to unmet needs in people with dementia and they can be reduced by delivering care that is more supportive of each individual’s specific and often complex needs. Research shows that training in Person-Centred Care provides staff with the skills they need to prevent and support distressing behaviours. However, without extra support for staff to build on their training, these benefits soon disappear. The trial will provide definitive evidence about the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Dementia Care Mapping in reducing distressing behaviours such as agitation in care home residents.

The study will involve 750 people with dementia and care staff in 50 care homes. Care homes have been recruited from the North of England, London and Oxford areas. Of the 50 care homes recruited to the study 20 homes will continue to deliver their usual care. Thirty care homes will be randomly allocated to have staff trained to use Dementia Care Mapping™ in addition to delivering their usual care.

We will compare changes in behaviours such as agitation in residents, their quality of life, the number of NHS services they need, and the numbers and types medications used to treat or manage distressing behaviours they are prescribed/given. We will look at these things at the start of the study, after 6 months and after 16 months. The study will also measure quality of staff interactions with residents, how staff feel about their job, their general health and feelings of stress and the number of staff resignations and sickness in both groups of homes. 

Can Participatory Video (PV) enhance social participation and well-being for people with dementia in residential social care?

Participatory Video is an approach to film-making which has been developed specifically with a view to the empowerment of people who are socially-marginalised and whose voices are unheard. Used to date predominantly in community development and with the socially disadvantaged, this was the first research study to trial PV with people who have dementia.

The aim of this study was to discover whether involvement in a PV group increases social participation and well-being for people with dementia.

National Institute for Health Research-School for Social Care Research summary (external link).


Participation involved 13 people with dementia living in long-term, residential social care; 11 women and two men; age range 76-99 years. Three participants were assessed to have capacity to consent for themselves to taking part in the study. For the remaining seven participants, personal or nominated consultees were appointed, all of whom were of the view that the person in question would have wished to take part at a time when s/he had capacity to give an informed decision.

This research is led by Dr Andrea Capstick at the University of Bradford with team members Dr John Chatwin, University of Salford and Dr Katherine Ludwin, University of Bradford and funded by the National Institute for Health ResearchSchool for Social Care Research.

PV research findings report

GREAT: Living Well with Memory Difficulties

Goal-oriented Cognitive Rehabilitation in Early-stage Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias: Multi-centre Single-blind Randomised Controlled Trial

The GREAT trial (short title: Living Well with Memory Difficulties) is a large multi-centre trial led by Professor Linda Clare. The trial is co-ordinated from the University of Exeter and is taking place in eight areas in England and Wales. Professor Jan Oyebode from the School of Dementia Studies, University of Bradford, co-ordinates the Birmingham centre.

The trial will provide definitive evidence about whether goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation is a clinically-effective and cost-effective intervention for people with early-stage dementia and their family, friends and/or carers.

The study is funded by the Health Technology Assessment Programme of the National Institute for Health Research (HTA reference 11/15/04). We expect the results to be available in 2017.

Why is the GREAT trial important?

There are over 750,000 people with dementia, and this figure is expected to double by 2040. People with dementia experience memory difficulties that can affect activities, relationships and enjoyment of life. As we cannot currently cure or remove memory difficulties, it is important to find out how people with memory difficulties as well as their friends, family and/or carers can live as well as possible despite these difficulties.

Early intervention offers the possibility of helping people with early-stage dementia and their carers to manage the impact of the disease on their everyday life and reduce or delay the progression of disability. Providing definitive evidence that cognitive rehabilitation helps people with dementia and their carers to live well with memory difficulties would mean that this intervention can be implemented as part of routine healthcare.

The results of the study will guide practice within the NHS and will be used to help develop the services provided by memory clinics. Towards the end of the trial we will offer training to memory clinic teams so that they can provide this kind of support. We will also develop a self-management guide for people attending memory clinics that they can use at home. We expect the results to be available in 2017.

What is goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation (CR)?

Goal-oriented CR involves working with a therapist (an experienced health professional) to try to manage the impact that memory difficulties can have on everyday life, such as activities, relationships, and enjoyment of life. The aim of CR is to reduce functional disability by drawing on retained strengths and supporting adaptive behaviour. Achievable and personally-meaningful goals relating to everyday activities are identified. These are areas where the person with dementia wishes to see improvements. A therapist works with the person and the carer to help achieve these goals. Initial evidence from a pilot study suggested that this new treatment was helpful for people who had attended a memory clinic and also for their family members.

How will we find out whether cognitive rehabilitation is helpful?

We are asking everyone who takes part in the GREAT study to complete some questionnaires and memory tasks on several occasions; half of the people receive cognitive rehabilitation while the other half continue with their usual treatment. We will then compare the responses on the questionnaires and memory tasks between these two groups of participants to find out how helpful the visits from the therapist delivering cognitive rehabilitation were to participants and their friends and family members. To answer our research questions, we need 480 people with memory difficulties to take part in the study.

The GREAT Team

The GREAT study takes place in eight research centres across England and Wales. Each centre has a lead investigator (an experienced academic clinicians overseeing the day to day work of the research centre), a part-time research assistant, and a part-time therapist (for example, an occupational therapist or clinical psychologist). For the centre run by University of Bradford, the lead investigator is Professor Jan Oyebode, the research assistant is Ms Helen Cunnae and the therapist is Ms Jayne Hughes.

Find out more

Visit the main study website.

What Works in Dementia Training and Education?

The aim of this study was to find out what factors contribute towards an effective training and education programme for health and social care staff.

Effective dementia training can improve staff knowledge, attitude and confidence and have a positive impact on those they provide care for.

It is a current government priority that all health and social care staff have the right knowledge and skills to deliver good dementia care.

Health Education England is keen to ensure all staff has the necessary training to deliver care for people living with dementia and want to find out what constitutes as good dementia education and training. 

The study comprised three interlinked work packages:

Work package 1 (led by Professor Claire Surr) structured review of all the evidence to get a clear picture of the ingredients needed for effective dementia training.

Work package 2 (led by Dr Sarah Smith and Dr Sahdia Parveen) two national surveys. Survey 1 to find out what training is currently being provided and implemented by care organisations. Survey 2 how useful staff found the training and the impact of training on staff knowledge, attitudes and confidence in providing care for people living with dementia.

Work package 3 (Led by Professor Jan Oyebode) 12 organisations to look at in more detail. Selected because their approach to training seems to be particularly effective. We collected data about their training models, staff knowledge and skills about dementia care and the experiences of people with dementia and their families using the service. This indicated what works and will help share good practice.

This is independent research commissioned and funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme. 

(Understanding Effective Dementia Workforce Education and Training: A Formative Evaluation (DeWET Evaluation), PR-R10-0514-12006).The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Department of Health.

The Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme (PRP) commissions, funds and manages leading edge research that is focused on the needs of Ministers and policymakers for evidence to inform policy. PRP provides timely evidence for current policy needs and builds the evidence-base for future policy-making. 

Information Programme for South Asian Families (IPSAF)

The Alzheimer’s Society developed a culturally tailored Information Programme for South Asian Families (IPSAF). The aims of the programme were to improve the knowledge, skills and understanding of South Asian families caring for someone living with dementia. Each programme consisted of four sessions delivered by Alzheimer’s Society facilitators with co-facilitators from local South Asian community organisations. Dementia Studies was commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Society to conduct an external evaluation to:

  1. report on the immediate and medium-term impact of IPSAF on the lives of those carers/relatives who attended
  2. report on the immediate and medium-term impact of IPSAF on the wider families, including the person with dementia, of those who attended
  3. report on whether and how IPSAF has raised attendees knowledge and / or use of services and sources of information and support
  4. report on how carers / relatives experienced attending a group with their peers 
  5. find out and report whether stakeholders feel aspects of adaptation for SA communities that are embedded in IPSAF could be applied in other parts of the Alzheimer’s Society or more widely
  6. report on the experiences of the organisations involved in IPSAF of partnership working

The study involved:

  • 7 focus groups with 42 IPSAF participants
  • 9 semi-structured interviews with 11 Alzheimer’s Society staff members
  • 5 semi-structured interviews with 6 community partners
  • A ‘before and after’ knowledge quiz with participants
  • 7 semi-structured family interviews completed within 3 months of attending IPSAF
  • 3 follow-up semi-structured family interviews completed 6-8 months after attending IPSAF
  • Observation of 4 IPSAF sessions at 4 different sites; attendance at IPSAF familiarisation courses and teleconferences

The project was led by Professor Jan Oyebode: and Dr Sahdia Parveen

Improving the Dementia Care Pathway for South Asian Families

Research suggests that people living with dementia from Minority Ethnic (ME) backgrounds access specialist dementia services at a late stage and more often ‘in crisis’, and tend to drop out of Memory Assessment and Treatment services (MATS)  before they access information about post-diagnostic support. This is not ideal as without post-diagnostic support, the quality of life of the person living with dementia and their family members will be poor, and relationships may be strained.

In Bradford, diagnostic rates of ME groups are good but 40% of these families (particularly South Asian families) drop out from (MATS), compared with 9% of indigenous families.  We are:

  1. exploring why persons with dementia from South Asian families drop out from the care pathway and establish key barriers and facilitators to complete the care pathway.
  2. producing recommendations about the changes or developments required to ensure successful and integrated services that meet the needs of these families.

We applied an evidence-based, targeted, behaviour change approach (the Theoretical Domains Framework, TDF) to improve timely access to specialist dementia assessment and to post-diagnostic information and support.

Activity included:

  • Eight family interviews to explore family experiences of post diagnostic support,
  • Follow up interviews four months later to establish any changes in their experiences of the care pathway.
  • Three focus groups with South Asian people living with dementia and their carers.

Participants were recruited from community groups within Bradford and surrounding areas. To be included in the study, the person with dementia had to be aged 65 years or over, the primary reason for referral to MATS was memory problems and the person had to have attended at least one appointment at MATS within the last 12 months. Those with a previous history of head injury, alcohol/drug abuse or other mental health co-morbidities were excluded.

The benefits are:

  • Improvements in the dementia care pathway for South Asian communities
  • Potential increased efficiency in the MATS service by reducing the number of missed appointments, allowing the MATS services to respond more quickly to incoming referrals. It is also expected that it would reduce re-referrals made in a crisis.
  • Scope to roll out more widely to other areas of the country
  • Scope to extend to other communities of interest and cultural groups.

The projest was funded by the Research Capability Funding (RCF). LEad academic was Professor Jan Oyebode: