Alzheimer’s Society funds three new research centres of excellence

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In the current climate, it is clear that the government needs to create a cost-effective way to prevent or slow the rate that people need to access care services. Investing money in research centres that focus on improving quality of life and support is a way that the government can alleviate service demand and reduce costs.

Understandably, dementia patients prefer to remain at home for as long as possible. Investing in research centres of excellence provides the opportunity to better post-diagnostic support which subsequently encourages patient independence, but also reduces the risk of unnecessary hospital admissions and helps to avoid early entry into care homes.

The first research centre of excellence will be led by Professor Louise Robinson at Newcastle University. This first centre will be responsible for researching methods that can improve the post-diagnostic support for people with dementia. Access to the type of services that can offer dementia diagnosis can vary significantly - with some regions unable to offer adequate service coverage. The result of the current situation equates to somewhat of a postcode lottery for people with dementia, who find their treatment quality affected by the availability of support in their location. Professor Louise Robinson and her team will develop and test new cost-effective and sustainable guidelines for dementia care and examine whether these guidelines can provide patients with the high-quality care they are entitled to.     

Colin Capper, head of research development at Alzheimer’s Society, writes that one of the most shocking statistics to be shared regarding the care of people with dementia is that ‘just 2% of people affected by dementia believe homecare workers had sufficient dementia training’. Dr Claudia Cooper at UCL will lead a team of experts at the second centre who will be responsible for improving independence at home, by training and preparing family carers and care workers so they can provide better care.

The University of Exeter will host the final research centre and will be led by Professor Linda Clare. The research topic being undertaken by Professor Clare and her team will be titled ‘Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life’. What this research aims to do is allow us to understand what can affect the quality of life of people with dementia, identifying ways to measure and target to improve certain aspects of quality of life for people with dementia.

Whether any of the research solutions will receive the funding they need to thrive, one thing is certain; steps are being made by Alzheimer’s Society to improve the care available to people with dementia. The need for care in the UK is set to double in the next 25-30 years. The care industry needs to facilitate growth and invest in research projects that can, in the long-term, provide cost-efficient and quality care to dementia patients. The funding provided by Alzheimer’s Society allows for five-years worth of research that will, providing the government make the funds available to implement these learnings, provide an improved longer-term solution for dementia care.