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Negotiating Better Support 2

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This follow up blog concerns Neil’s first visit to Nijmegen for Alzheimer’s Society Knowledge Exchange fellowship: “Negotiating Better Community Support for People with Dementia”

Neil visited Radboudumc along with John Gladman (University of Nottingham) and Prof Simon Conroy (University of Leicester). We attended many meetings to share knowledge and consider future research collaborations. I’ll outline these below:

Meeting with Prof Marcel OldeRikkert, Dr René Melis and Dr Maud Graff to discuss future research collaborations with potential EU Horizon 2020 funding. We have shared interests in supporting people with frailty and dementia to ‘live well at home’. This includes relationships with informal carers, application of data to better understand people’s health status and application of assistive technology.

We stepped out of the meeting into torrential rain drove through floods to get to a restaurant for dinner. We ate with a group of academics and clinicians in an Art Nouveau cinema – very impressive! Asparagus seemed to be the seasonal specialty; it seemed there were asparagus dishes for starter main and dessert! All delicious!

In the morning, Simon and John had been invited to join a PhD examining committee. This is a ceremonial occasion in Netherlands, and I was able to join the academics and public to hear the candidate defend the thesis. The topic was validating an approach to assess comprehensive health and social care status of older people. This was a great opportunity for me to gain an in-depth understanding of this system which can be used to assess dementia, frailty and multimorbidity. This ongoing programme, coordinated by René and Marcel, collects data across many sites in Netherlands, and we will explore opportunities to use this dataset within our project.

Following the thesis defence was a seminar which brought together members of this national network of clinical research projects, with presentations from several leaders. In conversation afterwards I was able to discuss several of the issues of interest to both SOPRANO study as well as our project. (SOPRANO stands for Supporting Older People’s Resilience through Assessment of Needs and Outcomes, and is a project within NIHR CLAHRC-EM).


Wednesday was spent working with Marjolein to progress the plans and discussing relevant literature and stakeholders for our project. We had a really thought-provoking meeting with René and Maud. Each of us have projects with overlapping areas of interest, and we explored how our project may be able to make use of this knowledge and mobilise this across our networks of stakeholders. Furthermore in elaborating ideas such as complexity theory, we may add a further level of interpretation to these empirical research studies.

Coming home I felt that we had made substantial progress in the project and it was great to meet people who I’ve only spoken with on the phone or skype!

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