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Doctoral Training Centre

The Bradford DTC is one of eight specialist doctoral training centres around the country that are funded by the Alzheimer’s Society as part of its investment in future research leaders.

Doctoral studies at Bradford focus on improving care, health and wellbeing at points of transition for people affected by dementia.  We are interested in improving transitions in the level and location of care.

Aims of the Bradford Doctoral Training Centre

The Centre aims to build research capacity in dementia, creating the future leaders that dementia research needs. The Centre will further enhance the University’s international reputation for applied person-centred dementia care and services research by funding seven PhD students to develop new ways to support people with dementia and their families and improve the quality of dementia care at times of transition.

Student projects

Our first cohorts of 4 student projects include:

  • ‘We’re all getting older you see, and things do change, don’t they? ’ An Ethnographic study of the Disruption and Continuity in the Daily Lives of Couples Living with Dementia and Co-morbidities – Denise De Waal, supervised by Prof Murna Downs and Professor Neil Small
  • Memory problems to complex needs: How do South Asian carers manage the transitions relating to the care of a family member with dementia – Akhlak Rauf, supervised by Prof Jan Oyebode and Dr Sahdia Parveen
  • Towards dementia friendly emergency departments: A mixed method exploratory study identifying opportunities to improve the quality and safety of care for people with dementia in emergency departments – Courtney Shaw, supervised by Prof Gerry Armitage and Dr Andrea Capstick
  • Investigating the Quality and Continuity of Medication Management when People living with Dementia move between the Care Home and Hospital Setting– Suzanne Hill, supervised by Prof Alison Blenkinsopp, Dr David Alldred and Dr Sarah Smith

Our second cohort of 3 student projects include:

  • The role of nurses in optimising the transition for nursing home residents living with dementia who return to their place of care after discharge from hospital – Angela Richardson, supervised by Professor Murna Downs, Professor Alison Blenkinsopp and Dr. Kathryn Lord
  • Facilitating decision-making about transitions between independent and supported living by women with dementia who live alone – Helen Wells, supervised by Dr Andrea Capstick
  • Perceptions of medicines management for people living with dementia in their own home and the contribution of community pharmacy in supporting independent living post-diagnosis – Paul Dourandish, supervised by Professor Alison Blenkinsopp, Dr Danielle Jones, Dr Sue Jones, and Dr Sarah Smith

The Bradford Doctoral Training Centre students

Denise de Waal

Denise de Waal

Supervisors: Professor Murna Downs and Professor Neil Small

I am a cultural anthropologist by background. I am interested in how people experience illness and how it influences different aspects of their daily life. My research project will be using ethnography to provide knowledge that could inform the future development of support for couples living in the community; where one partner has dementia and co-morbidities and the partner is the primary carer.

This PhD study aims to optimise the healthcare in the home by gaining a deeper understanding of the influence of dementia and co-morbidities co-influenced by structural factors like class, ethnicity and gender on their relationship, identity and daily life routine at home.

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Paul Dourandish

Paul Dourandish

Supervisors: Prof Alison Blenkinsopp, Dr Sue Jones, Dr Danielle Jones and Dr Sarah Smith

My grandfather and a more distant relative were both recently diagnosed with vascular dementia, and I have witnessed first-hand the emotional upheaval that people living with dementia and their family members, often endure in adapting to this life-changing condition.

As a pharmacist, I am committed to supporting people (including patients, carers, families, and other healthcare professionals) in the safe and effective use of medicines to ensure people benefit from their treatment, but also experience an improved quality of life. The guiding principles of ‘patient-centred care’ are at the heart of medicines optimisation and can be developed to support improved outcomes for people living with dementia in their own home, such as improved cognitive and physical functioning, reduced medication errors, and avoidance of unnecessary transitions in care.

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Suzanne Hill

Suzanne Hill

Supervisors: Prof Alison Blenkinsopp, Dr David Alldred and Dr Sarah Smith

This PhD: ‘Investigating the Safety and Quality of Medication-related Systems and Communication, when People with Dementia move between the Care Home and Hospital setting’ successfully combines both personal and professional ambitions. My passion and inspiration for pursuing this PhD comes from my Grandma, who lived with dementia for over 10 years and my Grandad who cared for her. My interest in medicines comes from my background as a Pharmacist.

Working in GP practices, I encountered many challenges with the communication of medication-related information across organisational boundaries. This PhD aims to explore and better understand the safety and quality of medicines-related systems and communication, during the care home/hospital transition. Interviews will be used to gain the perspective and experiences of people with dementia, family members and staff involved in the process. Other methods include observation and document analysis. The PhD will benefit from the regular input of experts by experience; carer panel; stakeholder panel and international advisors. The overall findings will provide recommendations for components of an intervention.

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Akhlak Rauf MBE

Akhlak Rauf MBE

Supervisors: Professor Jan Oyebode and Dr Sahdia Parveen

I have been working in a Local Authority to support people with Dementia and their carers for the last 11 years - recently being awarded an MBE for this work. The PhD is an ideal extension of this experience from the field as an opportunity to triangulate my experiences with academic research and potential influence on policy. I also take ‘inspiration’ from personal experience of the lack of support given to my parents when they were looking after my grandmother who had dementia.

Evidence suggests there are societal, cultural and language barriers associated with restriction to accessing information and support service. But I hope to gain a more detailed understanding of issues such as decision-making between family carers, the role of faith and gender positions influencing social, cultural and religious factors in accessing the appropriate and timely support both for the carers and the person living with dementia. Understanding any nuances in the study ‘managing the transitions in care for South Asian carers looking after a family member with dementia’ will add to gaps in academic knowledge.

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Angela Richardson

Angela Richardson

Supervisors: Professor Murna Downs, Professor Alison Blenkinsopp and Dr. Kathryn Lord

I have a clinical background in mental health nursing with a special interest in dementia care. I have worked in variety of nursing and management roles for a mix of employers including the NHS and the third sector. More recently I have worked as a lecturer in dementia care nursing. I have a keen interest in practice development and feel privileged to have been accepted on to this doctoral training programme.

My research is focused on the transition between hospitals and care homes for people living with dementia. The study will examine how nurses support people living with dementia and their families with this transition. The data generated from the study will be used to identify gaps and / or training needs; this might include the co-design of tools to implement best practice.

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Courtney Shaw

Courtney Shaw

Supervisors: Professor Gerry Armitage and Dr Andrea Capstick

Courtney is a health consultant from Vancouver, Canada. 

She chose the University because “An illness and hospital admission can be a difficult and stressful time, and I hope my research can make this challenging time less taxing by developing tools and systems to facilitate effective communication between families, medical staff, and people living with dementia. I am thrilled to be doing this research at the University of Bradford, which has such a respected history as a leader in patient safety research.”

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Helen Wells

Helen Wells

Supervisors: Dr Andrea Capstick and Prof Udy Archibong

I have worked and supported people with dementia and their families for over 35 years in a variety of roles and settings from a cleaner to dementia development worker. My last job role was to develop a new service in partnership with people living with dementia and their families.

My research project is designed to assist in addressing the health and social care needs of women who are or were living alone at the point of receiving a diagnosis of dementia. Women living on their own are often left to face a double jeopardy with regards to various identities impacting on their access to support or decision-making in their best interest. I aim to create a women’s focus framework that will safeguard the rights of women living alone with dementia at every stage of their life using the study.

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Directors of the Bradford Doctoral Training Centre

Involvement of Experts by Experience

We are engaging with experts by experience in a variety of ways:

  • A former family carer, Dr Barbara Woodward-Carlton, contributed to the research application
  • Each student has a person living with dementia, or a family member of someone living with dementia, as an adviser to their project
  • Each student presents their work to our Carer Reference Panel on a bi annual basis

Carer Reference Panel

Our Carer Reference Panel is chaired by Dr Barbara Woodward-Carlton.

Stakeholder Advisory Group

We have established a Stakeholder Advisory Group to support the students’ projects and ensure they have a close link with real world care, support and practice.  The Group is chaired by Professor Graham Stokes, Global Director of Dementia Care, Bupa Care Homes. Members include:

  • Ghazala Feteh, Meri Yaadain, Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Dr Sara Humphrey, GP and Dementia Lead, Bradford District CCG
  • Bunny McCullough, Intelligence Analyst, Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Chris North, Dementia Lead, Bradford District Care Foundation NHS Trust
  • Dr Anilkumar Pillai, Old Age Consultant Psychiatrist, Bradford District Care Foundation NHS Trust
  • Dr Gregor Russell, Medical Dementia Lead, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Paul Smithson, Manger, Alzheimer’s Society, Bradford
  • Paul Carder, Head of Research, NHS WY research and Development
  • Colin Sloane, Quality Improvement Lead (Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health), Clinical Networks NHS England -North
  • Christopher Rhymes, Lead Research Nurse, NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN)
  • Sally Gordon, ENRICH and Research Nurse, CRN Yorkshire and the Humber | NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN)

International Advisory Panel

The Bradford Doctoral Training Centre is supported by a number of internationally recognised scholars in transitions in dementia care. Members include:

Public engagement events

We have held and will continue to host a number of public engagement events to share the learning from our DTC. To date we have hosted a question time panel on Transitions in Dementia Care which attracted over 100 people. We launched the Doctoral Training Centre in March 2016, attracting 100 members of the public to hear about our work. Since the launch, the DTC have held 6 public lectures, delivered by members of our International Advisory Panel. More public talks will be held in the next 12 months.

Please watch this space and follow us on twitter for future announcements.

Upcoming events

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