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Experts gather to shine light on “forgotten services” closed due to Covid-19

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Author: Neil Hudson


Study backed by University of Bradford aims to keep spotlight on essential services for those living with dementia

A new national study co-funded by the University of Bradford aims to look at the impact of social service closures due to coronavirus on the elderly, people with dementia and unpaid carers.

An expert team of NHS, voluntary and academic collaborators from across the country have teamed up to shine a light on service provision for the ‘in need’ groups.

Dr Kathryn Lord, Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Health Studies, says the goal is to ensure services which have been forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic are not forgotten about when lockdown measures are eased.

She said: “We are looking at the impact of social service closures and how they affect people. This might be things like accessing day centres or having befrienders coming round.

“We will be speaking to hundreds of people affected by the closures as a result of lockdown. We will be looking at people’s mental health, anxiety, depression, how they are feeling, together with the impact of stopping these services so suddenly.

“The goal of the study is to help them during this time but also build a case for reopening these services post lockdown.”

The study is being led by Dr Clarissa Giebel from the University of Liverpool and conducted in collaboration with the University of Bradford, University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University and University College London. It will examine the impact of self-isolation on wellbeing of the older people, those living with dementia and unpaid carers.

The University of Bradford has secured funding for a researcher to conduct interviews with participants over a three month period, the results of which will be used to compile a report and make recommendations nationally.

People living with dementia and older people can be heavily reliant on accessing support groups, social activities in the community, befrienders, day care centres, or singing and dancing groups to stay socially active and get the support that health care services cannot provide.

However, due to Covid-19 these face-to-face services are now temporarily closed, leaving huge gaps in support and care needs. 

Dr Giebel said “We want to hear from older people, unpaid carers and people living with dementia, either alone or in a supported context. They can have their voice heard in our research and the results will be put in front of decision makers.” 

The study can be done online or via the phone and requires a commitment of 20-30 minutes three times over a period of 12 weeks and closes to new registrations on May 15 2020.

Call for participants: If you are an unpaid carer of someone living with dementia, an older person (aged 65 and above), or living with dementia yourself either alone or in a supported context and want to take part in the study, we want to hear from you.

The survey is open for new registrations until May 15 2020.

Contact Dr Kathryn Lord at the University of Bradford by email on: k.lord1@bradford.ac.uk or Dr Clarissa Giebel on Clarissa.giebel@liverpool.ac.uk, phone on 0151 794 9966 or fill out our contact form here: https://bit.ly/2VLAUrB

The University of Bradford is also a key partner in another new project aimed at keeping those with dementia better informed during Covid-19, offering clear, succinct advice on how to cope with the loss of services, keeping active and maintaining daily routines. See our previous article HERE.

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