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INDUCT researcher Kate Shiells writes about “How theexperiences of people with dementia have shaped our research”

Wednesday 24 January 2018

The INDUCT project is fast approaching the half-way point with all those involved busy preparing for the mid-term review, taking place from 29 January-2 February in Witten, Germany. As well as enabling the Early Stage Researchers to collate their results, preparing for the mid-term review has also provided an opportunity to reflect on individual experiences since joining the project in 2016.  

As an Early Stage Researcher, I have been primarily based at the Centre of Gerontology in Prague, with Professor Iva Holmerová, Chairperson of Alzheimer Europe, as my supervisor. The Centre of Gerontology is unique in the way it is the home of the Czech Alzheimer’s Society, but also provides a rehabilitation ward and a day centre for people with dementia from the surrounding district. 

Prior to joining INDUCT, I worked for over ten years with people with dementia, which ultimately influenced my decision to begin a career in dementia research. Being based at the Centre of Gerontology has enabled me to maintain frequent contact with people with dementia. More specifically, I have benefitted from being able to volunteer in the day centre and on the ward, speaking with individuals and learning about their experiences of long-term care.

I believe that these conversations have helped determine the direction of my own research project. Now currently on secondment in Belgium, I am writing a review on the self-reported needs and experiences of people with dementia in long-term care, in collaboration with VUB, my host institution. I anticipate that the results of this review will influence the outcome of my study, which is to produce recommendations for the development of electronic systems for assessment and care planning for people with dementia in nursing homes. 

In summary, the combination of enriching training opportunities and regular encounters with people with dementia in our host countries and with the EWGPWD have enabled us to shape our research to effectively meet the needs of people with dementia and those involved in their care. I am looking forward to what the next 18 months will bring!

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