University of Northampton’s important role in understanding how dementia interventions can help offset the effects of the condition was underlined during a visit by Danish research peers.
Diana Schack Thoft and Ann Lykkegaard Sorenson, both senior lecturers at University College Nordjylland (UCN), were in Northampton last week as part of an Erasmus-funded visit co-organised by researcher Dr Michelle Pyer, previously Diana’s PhD superviser.
Diana and Ann are working with University of Northampton researcher Alison Ward, looking at analysing how tailored teaching and activity-based interventions can help people who have dementia, in the short and long-term.
Their research follows the work of and is being supported by VUK, an adult teaching school in Denmark where people with dementia attend classes and receive cognitive stimulation and training.
The team’s research started with data collection in August and will continue until summer next year.
The ultimate aim is to help produce an evidence base for the work of VUK, with a view to helping inform dementia intervention strategies internationally.
The team will be working with Jackie Campbell, Professor in Neurophysiology at University of Northampton, who is advising on and overseeing the data evaluation.
During their time in Northampton, Diana and Ann also gave guest lectures to Learning Disability Nursing and Neuro-science students based on their respective expert areas in service user involvement with people with dementia and medication safety.
They also had tours of Northampton General Hospital as well as visits to the Forest Centre at St. Mary’s Hospital, Kettering, an older adults’ mental health centre that specialises in acute dementia care.
It was also something of a reunion trip for Diana as her PhD was jointly conducted at University of Northampton, Aalborg University and UCN. This study arrangement is one that Alison, Researcher and Deputy Lead for the Centre of Health Sciences and Services at University of Northampton, is also undertaking.
Michelle commented: “There is a raft of qualitative research that tells us tailored interventions for people with dementia, based on their individual requirements and learning styles have benefits to people.
“Different countries have different perspectives on dementia treatment policy and Denmark, in many ways, is leading the charge on understanding these interventions and pushing them internationally.
“But good, solid evidence is needed to help back this up, so with this in mind, University of Northampton has signed to this key research partnership with our Danish colleagues. We are very pleased to be working in collaboration with both UCN and the innovative VUK school, who have kindly opened their doors to us.”