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Research to improve dementia care recruits first care homes

Published: Mon 10 Nov 2014

A national study led by the University of Bradford aimed at improving care for people living with dementia in care homes has successfully recruited its first care homes to take part in the research in Bradford and London.

The study, known as the EPIC (enhancing person-centred care in care homes) trial, will involve around 750 people with dementia living in 50 care homes across West Yorkshire, London and Oxfordshire. It will continue to recruit care homes from these locations over the next 12-months, with homes participating in the research for a further 16 months.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme, the research aims to investigate whether Dementia Care Mapping™ (DCM), a technique developed at the University of Bradford, is effective in helping care home staff to deliver better quality dementia care.

The research is being led by the Bradford Dementia Group, University of Bradford and co-ordinated by the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds, in collaboration with leading academics from the University of Leeds, Kings College London, Newcastle University and the University of Technology Sydney alongside experts from Oxfordshire Health NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care Trust, Bupa and the Alzheimer’s Society.

EPIC Lead Researcher Dr Claire Surr, Reader in Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford, said: “We are extremely pleased to have recruited our first care homes to the study on schedule. This is an important national study, which will provide us with strong evidence about how best to care for people with dementia in care homes. We are excited to be starting the on-the-ground research with care home sites.”

The Clinical Trials Research Unit’s EPIC lead, Professor Amanda Farrin, said: “I am delighted that the CTRU are involved in such an important trial.  This work is an expansion of our existing portfolio of trials in complex interventions and therapies, including other research projects involving older people in hospitals, care homes and the community.  We look forward to the challenges ahead, and ultimately seeing the impact this research may have on the care home environment.”

Dr. Jane Fossey, Associate Director of Psychological Services at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to be involved with this study. The trust has used DCM principles over many years and this is an exciting development to be able to evaluate its effectiveness in care homes across this county, as part of this national study. We are involved in a number of studies investigating how psychological and social treatments can improve people with dementia’s quality of life in care homes and look forward to continuing to working with our local partners to address this important issue”

Dr Doug Brown, Director of research and Development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “With a third of people with dementia living in care homes, investigating better ways to deliver care in these settings to ensure that it is of the highest quality is hugely important. Alzheimer’s Society funds research into better dementia care today as well as a cure for tomorrow and we’re delighted to be able to work in partnership with these researchers to support them with the voices of people affected by dementia.”

The research is due to complete in September 2017.

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