Allied Health Professionals: Enhancing Everyday Living

Becky Field (Researcher, PhD student and Occupational Therapist) attended and gave a presentation at this year’s 26th Alzheimer Europe Conference #26AEC. In this week’s blog Becky shares her highlights from the conference and a bit about her PhD study.

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I attended the 26th Alzheimer Europe Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark (31 October–2 November 2016) http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Conferences/2016-Copenhagen. The theme of the conference was “excellence in dementia research and care”. It was great to learn about research and service developments across Europe. My personal highlights from the conference were:

  • Hearing from people living with dementia and their caregivers, reminding us what an important contribution they can and do make to research and services.
  • Learning about the work going on in Scotland to develop and deliver post diagnostic support services; great to hear about how it happens, and that post diagnostic support is offered to everyone with a diagnosis of dementia; also to hear about Allied Health Professional roles in dementia services. You can find out more about this work here: http://Alzscot.org http://alzscot.org/talking-dementia

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Photograph of Becky Field pictured with colleague, Jacki Stansfeld, PhD student University College London, researcher North East London Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

The presentation I gave was called ‘Psychosocial Interventions: identifying influences on take up’. This was based on interviews carried out with people living with dementia and their family carers about experiences of participating in a community occupational therapy intervention which is part of the ‘Valuing Active Life in Dementia (VALID)’ research study. The ‘Valuing Active Life in Dementia’ research study is evaluating the effectiveness of a community occupational therapy intervention (COTiD-UK) for people with mild to moderate dementia living in the community and their family carers.

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more information about VALID study please see https://www.ucl.ac.uk/valid

In my presentation I shared my PhD research where I am trying to identify influences on why people may or may not accept offers of psychosocial interventions and feel ready to engage in them. This is because government policy recommends post-diagnostic support and psychosocial interventions, and there is a growing evidence to support the benefits of these interventions. Yet, there is little research about what may help or prevent people from engaging in such interventions to inform development of post diagnostic services. From analysing interviews with people living with dementia and their family carers, I found that wanting support, valuing activity and routine, struggling to adjust to the diagnosis or cope with symptoms were all key influences on take up of this occupational therapy intervention. I hope my doctoral research can contribute to these developments.

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After the conference and in doing my PhD I have been thinking about how can Occupational Therapists, and services in general, enable people with dementia’s engagement in occupational therapy and participation in their everyday lives, taking into account the challenges living with dementia can often bring?

Some people with dementia and their family carers may feel differently to each other, some may want support, others may not or feel uncertain, at least at the time it is offered…if people say no to intervention or services, how can we best respond?

On reflection

Thank you for reading my blog and I would welcome to hear your ideas and thoughts to…

How should we respond when a person living with dementia and or family carer, say NO to engaging in an occupational therapy intervention or your service?

Get in touch

If you would like more information about my doctoral research please do get in touch b.field@sheffield.ac.uk.

My PhD is supported by the VALID research study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research, grant number RP-PG 0610-10108)

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As part of the conference I also attended the Interdem Academy Master class: ‘Involving people with dementia as advisors to your research. You can find out about Interdem here http://interdem.org/?page_id=4636

 

 

 

pic-6-convertimageBecky Field: Occupational Therapist

I am an occupational therapist and worked in community brain injury rehab before completing an MSc Clinical Research in 2012. As a researcher my role involves recruiting people with dementia and their family carers and carrying out interviews (outcome measures) that will be used to help evaluate the effectiveness of the occupational therapy intervention. I also help manage the study at the Sheffield site, ensuring clinical trial procedures are adhered to, and helped run and analyse focus groups with people with dementia and their family carers, that helped develop the intervention.

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