Dr Rachael Kelley, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Rachael Kelley

Senior Research Fellow

Rachael is a research fellow in the School of Health and Community studies with a focus on developing and conducting research into the care of people with dementia. She also teaches health research methods to undergraduates and postgraduates.

Rachael has worked in health research since 2004, predominantly at the University of Leeds where she held two National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellowships; a Doctoral Fellowship and a Clinical Trials Fellowship.

She has worked on many quantitative and qualitative research projects during this time, including large epidemiological studies, clinical trials, process evaluations and in-depth ethnographic studies. Her research has focused mainly on two research areas; the care of people with dementia and their families and hospital services for people who self-harm. Her NIHR funded PhD was an ethnographic study exploring how the use of families knowledge and expertise impacts upon the general hospital care of people with dementia.

Rachael teaches qualitative and quantitative health research methods to postgraduate level. She is a member of a National Institute for Health Research Research for Patient Benefit funding panel (Yorkshire and North East Region) as well as undertaking regular reviews for numerous academic journals and research funding panels.

Prior to starting her research career she was a qualified mental health nurse specialising in the care of people with dementia.


Current Teaching

Rachael teaches applied health research methods across numerous undergraduate and postgraduate courses with the School of Health. She also runs workshops on ethnography, and teaches on a postgraduate certificate in health research at the University of Leeds.

Student supervision:

Rachael supervises projects in applied health research with a focus on mental health and her research interests.

Current & recent PhD and DClinPsychol students:

  • 2020 – present PhD Thesis, Butterworth, L. Improving patient transport services for people living with dementia
  • 2019 – present PhD Thesis, Crossland, J. Development of an intervention to support family carers whose relative with dementia moves into a care home
  • 2019 – present PhD Thesis, Platt, R. The care and support needs of residential care home residents with comorbid cancer and dementia: An ethnographic study
  • 2018 – 2020 DClin Psychology Doctoral Thesis, Crane R. Staff experiences of caring for people with dementia who are distressed (completed)
  • 2018 – 2020 DClin Psychology Doctoral Thesis, Higgins, E. Disclosing Self-Harm to Non-Professionals in an Adult Sample (completed)
  • 2015 – 2017 DClin Psychology Doctoral Thesis, Jenkins, E. Comparing conveyance and non-conveyance to the Emergency Department for self-harm (completed)

Research Interests

Rachael is interested in various aspects of research into mental health. Specific areas of interest include the care and support of people with dementia and their families, and services and support for people who self-harm.

Rachael's PhD explored whether involving families in care can improve experiences of hospital care for people with dementia. She carried out ethnographic data collection involving interviews and observations with people with dementia, their families and staff on elderly care hospital wards. The findings of this research will help to guide the development of recent NHS plans to increase the involvement of families in the general hospital care of people with dementia.

Other previous research projects include the process evaluation for the DCM-EPIC trial (a trial to establish the effectiveness of a care improvement tool called Dementia Care Mapping in care homes), a systematic review of the implementation of randomised controlled trials in care homes, and a mixed methods study of care experiences, treatments and outcomes for people with co-morbid dementia and cancer.

She is currently working on a NIHR funded mixed methods research study exploring treatment decision making in Memory Assessment Services for people living with dementia and their families.

Research Funding:

  • 2020 - NIHR Research for Patient Benefit £149,169 – Effective communication of pharmaceutical treatment uncertainty in Memory Assessment Services
  • 2019 - Leeds University Business School Challenge Fund £26,000 - Applying computer modelling, simulation and socio-technical systems analysis to improve NHS dementia care outcomes
  • 2017 - NIHR Research for Patient Benefit £155,116 - Effective clinical cancer treatment, care and management for people with co-morbid cancer and dementia
  • 2015 - NIHR Clinical Trials Fellowship £41,620 – complex interventions in older people
  • 2010 - WY R&D Consortium, NHS Support Costs for mortality follow up £43,740
  • 2009 - NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship £223,434 – involving families in acute dementia care
Dr Rachael Kelley, Senior Research Fellow

Selected Outputs