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Professor Murna Downs

PositionProfessor in Dementia Studies
Location2.14
DepartmentCentre for Applied Dementia Studies
Telephone01274 233991
Emailm.downs@bradford.ac.uk

Research Interests (key words only)

Improving quality of life and quality of care for people with dementia and their family carers; the lived experience of dementia; effectiveness of training and education; culture change; mixed methods.

PhD Supervision

Current Students Supervised

  • Jenny Adams (2013 - ongoing) part-time home student
    Research focus: Improving the management of acute deterioration in frail elderly residents in UK nursing homes: The development of a competency framework for nurses and care assistants

  • Kirsty Haunch (2014 - ongoing)  full-time home student
    Research focus: Improving the quality of life for residents with dementia at end of life in care homes

  • Analisa Smythe (2013 - ongoing) part-time home student
    Research focus: To investigate the effects of a brief psychosocial training intervention for staff working with people living with dementia.

PhD Completions

  • Dianne Gove (2013) General Practitioners' Perceptions of Dementia and How They Relate to Stigma (University of Bradford)

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Teaching interests

End of life care; practice development and organisational change; MSc/MPhil/PhD student supervision.

Areas of practice development interest

Culture change; service user and carer involvement; continuous quality improvement; evidence-based reflective practice.

Biography

Professor Murna Downs is Chair in Dementia Studies at the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford, a leading centre of excellence in research, education, training and consultancy in dementia care.

She has published on a range of topics from early diagnosis through to end of life care, most recently on transitions in dementia care, emphasising the importance of attending to the perspective of people living with dementia and their families.  Murna’s research is currently focused on developing and testing interventions to improve care in care homes.

She co-directs the University’s Alzheimer’s Society funded Doctoral Training Centre on dementia care and services research, ‘Transitions in dementia care’.  She is co-editor of the highly commended textbook Excellence in dementia care: Research into practice and is series editor of the Jessica Kingsley Good Practice Guides on Dementia Care.  Murna is on the editorial board of several journals, a member of the Dementia Expert Advisory Group for Health Education England, the National Institute for Health Research Portfolio Development Group for Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases and the Research Strategy Council of the Alzheimer’s Society.  She is an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, social care adviser to Alzheimer Europe and is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

Study History

  • PhD Psychology (University of Vermont)
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology (University College Dublin)

Research Areas

Murna’s research interests focus on improving quality of life and quality of care for people with dementia and their families. Her current research includes:

  • leading a National Institute for Health Research study on improving health care for residents in care homes
  • collaborating on National Institute for Health Research Heath Technology Assessment study (led by Dr Claire Surr at the University of Bradford) testing the effectiveness of DCM in enabling person-centred care in care homes

Current Projects

Key Projects

  • Alzheimer’s Society. M Downs, J Oyebode, A Blenkinsopp, G Armitage, G Stokes, A Capstick, B Woodward-Carlton Doctoral Training Centre on Transitions in Dementia Care.  (£450K)

  • (2015-2018) National Institute for Health Research Programme Grant. M Downs, E Sampson, K Froggatt, B McCormack, B Woodward-Carlton, S Nurock et al. Reducing rates of avoidable hospital admissions: Optimising an evidence-based intervention to improve care for Ambulatory Care Sensitive conditions in nursing homes.  (£1,009, 981)

  • (2013-2017) Surr C, Ballard C, Chenoweth L, Corbett A, Downs M, Edwards P, Farrin A, Fossey J, Graham E, Meads D, Robinson L, Siddiqi N, Stokes G, Wallace D, Walwyn R. Evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) to Enable Person-centred Care for people with dementia and staff: A UK cluster randomised controlled trial In Care Homes (DCM-EPIC trial). NIHR HTA Programme: Dementia Themed Call (£2404888)

  • (2011-2012) M Downs, E Sampson, L Clare, J Young, B McCormack, S Nurock, B Woodward-Carlton, L Robinson, C Katona, M Green, C Bowman, J Wright, R Koopmans, J Ouslander. Developing an evidence-based intervention to improve health care for, and prevent avoidable hospital admission of, older care home residents with frailty or dementia. National Institute for Health Research Programme Development Grant (£97238)

  • (2007-2012) E Moniz-Cook, A Mason, C Mozley, R T Woods, I Russell, R Jones, I Markova, P Campion, A Hilton, G Stokes, I James, M Downs. Management of challenging behaviour in dementia at home and in care homes. National Institute for Health Research Programme Grant (£1,632,038)

  • (2008-2011) L Clare, M Downs, R. Whitaker, BA Wilson, and R T Woods. Development of an awareness-based intervention to enhance quality of life in severe dementia. Medical Research Council. (£417396)

  • (2009) M Downs. Transitions in to long stay care: The carers' experience. Alzheimer's Society of Ireland. (£40000)

  • (2008) M Downs, C Baldwin, R Fortinsky. Evaluation of Leeds memory services. Leeds Mental Health Partnership Trust. (£30000)

  • (2006-2008) M Downs. Evaluation of Older People's Health in Mind Programme. Bradford Metropolitan District Council. (£128000)

  • (2006-2008) M Downs and R Bartlett. Leading and Teaching in Mental Health. Bradford Metropolitan District Council. (£61830)

  • (2005-2006) L Clare, M Downs, E Bruce, C Surr. Awareness among people with moderate to severe dementia living in residential care homes. Economic and Social Research Council. (£45000)

  • (2005-2006) S Ariss, M Downs, B Fernandez, R Gallagher, E Grant. Caring Together: developing partnerships with your GP practice for people with memory problems and their carers. NHS York and Selby R and D Committee, Innovation Fund Research Programme. (£10000)

  • (2004-2005) L Clare (University of Wales, Bangor) M Downs, E Bruce, C Surr. Exploring levels of awareness among people with dementia living in residential care: a pilot study. Economic and Social Research Council. (£45000)

Publications

Academic Journal Papers

Beerens, H, Downs, M, Tan, F, Zwakhalen, S, Verbeek, H, de Boer B, Ruwaard, D, Hamers J (in press) Mood and other aspects of daily life of people with dementia living in long-term care facilities Ageing and Mental Health

Gove, D, Downs, M, Small N and Vernooij-Dassen, M (2016) General practitioners’ perceptions of the stigma of dementia and the role of reciprocity.  Dementia, the International Journal of Social Research and Practice, http://dem.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/01/11/1471301215625657.full.pdf?ijkey=veDNDHGbJJYvFgz&keytype=finite

Gove, D, Downs M, Vernooij-Dassen M, & Small N (2015) Stigma and general practitioners’ perception of dementia. Ageing and Mental Health, 13, 1-10.

Downs, M, Collins L (2015) Person-centred communication in dementia care. Nursing Standard, 30(11) 37-41.

Willemse, BM, Downs M, Arnold L, Smit D, de Lange L, & Pot AM (2014) Staff-resident interactions in long-term care for people with dementia: the role of meeting psychological needs in achieving residents' well-being. Ageing and Mental Health. Aug 13, 1-9.

Fortinsky R & Downs M (2014) Optimising person-centred transitions in the dementia journey: A comparison of national dementia strategies.  Health Affairs, 33(4), 566-573.

Downs, M. (2013) Embodied dementia: The implications for living well with dementia. Dementia, the International Journal of Research and Practice, 12 (3), pp.368-374

Downs, M. (2013) Putting people – and compassion – first: the UK’s approach to person-centred care for individuals with dementia. Generations, the Journal of the American Society on Ageing, 37 (3), pp.53-59

Clare, L., Whitaker, R., Woods, R.T., Quinn, C., Jelley, H., Hoare, Z., Woods, J., Downs, M. and Wilson, B.A. (2013) AwareCare: a pilot randomized controlled trial of an awareness-based staff training intervention to improve quality of life for residents with severe dementia in long-term care settings. International Psychogeriatrics, 25 (1), pp.128-139  http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8771968 

Clare, L., Whitaker, R., Quinn, C., Jelley, H., Hoare, Z., Woods, R.T., Downs, M. and Wilson, B.A. (2012) AwareCare: development and validation of an observational measure of awareness in people with severe dementia. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 22, pp.113-133  DOI: 10.100/09602011.2011.640467

Vernooij-Dassen, M., Downs, M., Draskovic, I and McCleery, J. (2011) Cognitive reframing for carers of people with dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005318.pub2/pdf 

Clare, L., Woods, R.T., Whitaker, R., Wilson, B. and Downs, M. (2010) Development of an awareness-based intervention to enhance quality of life in severe dementia: trial platform. Trials, 11, p.73

Downs, M., Capstick, A., Baldwin, P.C., Surr, C. and Bruce, E. (2009) The role of higher education in transforming the quality of dementia care: dementia studies at the University of Bradford. International Psychogeriatrics, 21 (S1), pp.3-15

Clare, L., Bruce, E., Surr, C. and Downs, M. (2009) The experience of living with dementia in residential care: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Gerontologist, 48, pp.711-720

Wilcock, J., Iliffe, S., Turner, S., Bryans, M., O'Carroll, R.E., Keady, J., Levin, E. and Downs, M. (2009) Concordance with clinical practice guidelines for dementia in general practice. Ageing and Mental Health, 13 (2), pp.155-161

Clare, L., Bruce, E., Surr, C. and Downs, M. (2008) 'I don't do like I used to do': a grounded theory approach to conceptualising awareness in people with moderate to severe dementia living in long-term care. Social Science and Medicine, 66 (11), pp.2366-2377

Ariss, S., Grant, E., Downs, M., Fernandez, B., Gallagher, R., Cherry, D. and Barclay, M. (2006) Piloting a consumer-directed intervention to improve primary care for dementia in the UK. Dementia: the International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 5 (3), pp.456-462

Downs, M., Ariss, S., Grant, E., Keady, J., Turner, S., Bryans, M., Wilcock, J., Levin, E., O'Carroll, R. and Iliffe, S. (2006) Family carers' accounts of general practice contacts for their relatives with early signs of dementia. Dementia: the International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 5 (3), pp.353-373

Downs, M., Small, N. and Froggatt, N. (2006) Explanatory models of dementia: links to end-of-life care International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 12 (5), pp.209 - 213

Downs, M., Turner, S., Bryans, M., Wilcock, J., Keady, J., Levin, E., O'Carroll, R., Howie, K. and Iliffe, S. (2006)Effectiveness of educational interventions in improving detection and management of dementia in primary care: A cluster randomized controlled study. British Medical Journal, 332, pp.692-696

Mackenzie, J., Bartlett, R. and Downs, M. (2005) Have we been barking up the wrong tree? Moving towards culturally competent dementia care. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, 15, pp.39-46

Murphy, J., Tester, S., Hubbard, G., Downs, M. and MacDonald, C. (2005) Enabling frail older people with a communication difficulty to express their views: the use of Talking Mats as an interview tool. Health and Social Care in the Community, 13 (2), pp.95-107

Turner, S., Iliffe, S., Downs, M., Wilcock, J., Bryans, M., Levin, E., Keady, J. and O'Carroll, R. (2004) General practitioners: knowledge, confidence and attitudes in the diagnosis and management of dementia. Age and Ageing, 33, pp.461-467

Baruch, J., Downs, M., Baldwin, C. and Bruce, E. (2004) A case study in the use of technology to reassure and support a person with dementia. Dementia: the International Journal of Social Research and Practice. 3(3), pp.371-392.

Wilcock, J., Iliffe, S., Walters, K., Rait, G., Austin, T., Turner, S., Bryans, M., Downs, M., Levin, E., O'Carroll, R. and Keady, J. (2003)The development of an evidence-based curriculum for dementia care training in general practice. Education and Ageing, 17, pp.217-36

Bryans, M., Keady, J., Turner, S., Wilcock, J., Downs, M. and Iliffe, S. (2003) An exploratory survey into primary care nurses and dementia care. British Journal of Nursing, 12 (17), pp.1029-1037

Turner, S., Iliffe, S., Bryans, M., Wilcock, J., Downs, M. and Austin, T. (2003) Decision support software for dementia diagnosis and management in primary care: relevance and potential. Ageing and Mental Health, 7 (1), pp.28-33

Hubbard, G., Tester, S. and Downs, M. (2003) Meaningful social interactions between older people in institutional settings. Ageing and Society, 23, pp.99-114

Hubbard, G., Downs, M. and Tester, S. (2003) Including older people with dementia in research: challenges and strategies. Ageing and Mental Health, 7 (5), pp.351-362

Iliffe, S., Wilcock, J., Downs, M., Turner, S. and Bryans, M. (2002) A randomised controlled trial of educational interventions for dementia diagnosis and management in primary care. Neurobiology of Ageing, 23, pp.S550-1

Hubbard, G., Cook, A., Tester, S. and Downs, M. (2002) Beyond words: older people with dementia using and interpreting non-verbal behaviour. Journal of Ageing Studies, 16, pp.155-167.

Downs, M., Clibbens, R., Rae, C., Cook, A. and Woods, R.T. (2002) What do general practitioners tell people with dementia and their families about the condition? A survey of experiences in Scotland. Dementia: the International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 1, pp.47-58

Iliffe, S., Wilcock, J., Austin, T., Walters, K., Rait, G., Turner, S., Bryans, M. and Downs, M. (2002) Dementia diagnosis and management in primary care: 1 Approaches to learning. Dementia: the International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 1, pp.11-23.

Iliffe, S., Austin, T., Wilcock, J., Bryans, M., Turner, S. and Downs, M. (2002) Design and implementation of a computer decision support system for the diagnosis and management of dementia syndromes in primary care. Methods of Information in Medicine, 41, pp.98-104

Downs, M., Iliffe, S., Turner, S., Bryans, M. and Wilcock, J. (2001) An intervention to improve primary care practitioners' response to people with dementia and their families. Gerontology, 47 (S1), p.139

Iliffe, S., Wilcock, J., Walters, K., Rait, G., Downs, M., Turner, S. and Bryans, M. (2001) Educational issues in the recognition and management of dementia in primary care. Gerontology, 47 (S1), p.139

Editorials

Downs, M., Bowers, B. (2008) Care for people with dementia. British Medical Journal, 336, pp.225-226

Downs, M. (2005) Awareness and dementia: In the eye of the beholder. Ageing and Mental Health, 9, pp.381-383

Downs, M. andCrossan, B. (1999) Trading places: new challenges for research in nursing and residential homes. Ageing and Mental Health, 3, pp.8-9

Downs, M., Zarit, S. (1999) What works in dementia care? Research evidence for policy and practice. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14, pp.83-85

Zarit, S.H., Downs, M. (1999) State of the art for practice with dementia. Generations (Journal of the American Society on Ageing), 23 (3), pp.6-8

Books

Small, N., Froggatt, K., Downs, M. (2007) Living and dying with dementia - dialogues about palliative care . Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Burns, A., Downs, M., Kampers, W. (2005) Current dementia. London: Science Press.

Edited Books

Downs, M. and Bowers, B. (2014) (Eds) Excellence in dementia care: Research in to practice. 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Downs, M. and Bowers, B. (2008) (Eds) Excellence in dementia care: Research in to practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Vincent, J.A., Phillipson, C.R. and Downs M. (2006) (Eds). The futures of old age. London: British Society for Gerontology and Sage Publications.

Reports

Argyle, E., Tasker, J., Downs, M. (2010) Continuing to care for people with dementia: Irish family carers’ experience of their relative’s transition to a nursing home. Dublin: Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland.

Downs, M. (2009) Coping with Alzheimer's and other related diseases - improving patient care at home: How to cope (non-pharmacologically) with crisis situations (behavioural disorders) occurring in patient's home. On behalf of the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Peer Review on Social Protection and Social Inclusion and Assessment in Social Inclusion.

Downs, M. (2009) Alzheimer’s and other related diseases: Coping with behavioural disorders in the patient’s home. Synthesis report. Peer review in social protection and social inclusion on behalf of the European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Downs, M., Ariss, S., Newell, R., Potts, D. (2006) Health in Mind Programme Evaluation: Final Report to the Programme Board.

Chapters in Books

Downs, M. (in press) Person-centred care. In V Pace, A Treolar and S Scott (Eds) Dementia: From advanced disease to bereavement. Oxford Specialist Handbooks in End of Life Care.

Downs, M. (2011) End of life care for older people with dementia: Priorities for research and service development. In M Gott and C Ingleton (Eds), Living with ageing and dying: Palliative and end of life care for older people. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Downs, M. (2010) Person-centred care as supportive care. In: J C Hughes, M Lloyd-Williams, and G A Sachs (eds). Supportive care for the person with dementia.. Oxford University Press.

Downs, M (forthcoming) Person-centred care. In A Trealor (ed) Palliative care for people with dementia. Routledge.

Downs, M., Clare, L., Anderson, E. (2008) Dementia as a bio-psychosocial condition: Implications for practice and research In R Woods and L Clare, L (Eds), Handbook of the Clinical Psychology of Ageing, 2nd Edition . Chichester: Wiley

Froggatt, K.A., Downs, M., Small, N. (2008) Palliative care for people with dementia: Principles, practice and implications. In R Woods and L Clare, L (Eds), Handbook of the Clinical Psychology of Ageing, 2nd Edition . Chichester: Wiley

Small, N., Downs, M., Froggatt, K. (2006) Improving end-of-life care for people with dementia - the benefits of combining UK approaches to palliative care and dementia care. In Jones G & Miesen B. (Eds), Care-giving in dementia; Research and applications, volume 4 . Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

Downs, M., Mackenzie, J., Clare, L. (2006) Understandings of dementia: Explanatory models and their implications for the person with dementia and therapeutic effort. In JC Hughes, SJ Louw, and SR Sabat (Eds) Dementia: Mind, meaning and person . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Downs, M., Bruce, E. (2006) Is there a better future for people with dementia and their families? In Vincent J A, Phillipson C R & Downs M. (Eds). The futures of old age. London: Sage.

Downs, M., Small, N. and Froggatt, K. (2006) Person-centred care for people with severe dementia. In Burns A & Winblad B (eds). Severe dementia. London: Wiley and Sons.

Downs, M., Brooker, D., Bruce, E. (2005) Person-centred dementia care in the UK. In A Burns (Ed) Standards in dementia care. London: Taylor and Francis.

Tester, S., Hubbard, G., Downs, M., MacDonald, C., Murphy, J. (2004) Frailty and institutional life. In A Walker and C H Hennessy (eds) Growing older: Quality of life in old age. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Downs, M. (2002) Dementia as disability: Implications for practice. In S Benson (Ed) Topics for the new millennium. Hawker Publications.

Hubbard, G., Downs, M., Tester, S. (2001) Including the perspective of older people in institutional care during the consent process. In H Wilkinson (ed) The perspectives of people with dementia - research methods and innovations. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Guest Editorships: Journals

Zarit, S.H., Downs, M. (1999) State of the art for practice with dementia. Guest editors. Generations (Journal of the American Society on Ageing), 23 (3), pp.6-8

Downs, M., Zarit, S. (1999) What works in dementia care? Research evidence for policy and practice: Guest editors. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14, pp.83-14 and pp.165-232.

CD Roms

Hubbard, G., Cook, A., Tester, S., Downs, M. (2003) Sexual Expression in Institutional Settings: an interactive multi-media CD ROM. Stirling University, Department of Applied Social Sciences, July.

Good Practice, Series Editor

Series editor for Centre for Applied Dementia Studies and Jessica Kingsley Good Practice Guides to Dementia Care including titles such as:

  • Primary Care and Dementia
  • Social Work and Dementia
  • Partnerships with Families
  • Ethical and legal issues in dementia care
  • Person-centred dementia care
  • Life history work with people with dementia

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