Transforming | dementia care

Dementia: Care starts at home

When Professor Claire Surr’s great-grandmother was diagnosed with dementia, it inspired her to pursue research to improve the quality of care available to people with this condition. As an undergraduate, Claire's interest in the study of dementia was also shaped by her inspirational lecturer, who was a leading authority on personcentred dementia care – an innovative approach to care provision at the time. Claire now leads internationally recognised academic research in this area.

"Dementia is the leading cause of disability in older age. It causes more deaths per year in the UK than cancer, cardiovascular disease or stroke, and yet receives only a small amount of research funding. Our health and social care services are also chronically underfunded and are struggling to provide good care to people with dementia."

However, Claire believes that increased funding is only one part of the possible solution to the health and social care challenges we are facing in this country, and she is leading several major studies into how we can improve the lives of those living with dementia. "Supporting people to live well with dementia is not straightforward. Whilst the health service is working to keep people living with dementia in their homes for longer, which is what the majority of those with the condition also want, this is often difficult. Older people may not have family support locally because families today are more dispersed across the country or the globe. The social care people can access in their own homes is often limited to visits as short as 15 minutes, twice a day. I am leading two studies to address some of these issues. The first, the DCM EPIC trial, is a four-year study looking at whether an approach called Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) is effective for helping care home staff provide better care for those with dementia. The second focuses on evaluating the most effective approaches to dementia training and education for the health and social care workforce."

"Ultimately, the intention is for the research to improve dementia care and help people with dementia and their families experience a better quality of life."

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School of Health and Community Studies

If you’re passionate about helping people to maintain the best possible health and quality of life, or fighting inequality and protecting the vulnerable, then the School of Health and Community Studies is for you.

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