Dementia Community Research Network celebrates in style!

The Dementia Community Research Network (DCRN) turns one this year, and what better way to celebrate than to showcase the incredible work of Network members and start a conversation about better, more inclusive, dementia care? On Thursday 9 May 2024, the DCRN held its first community engagement event to do just that…

The DCRN is a network of public, community, and research partners from across South London. We are connected though our shared goal of better care for all people affected by dementia, by giving equitable opportunities to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities to be involved in dementia research.

With thanks to generous funding from the British Society of Gerontology, and hosting by King’s College Hospital, we welcomed well over 50 guests to our event, including people living with dementia and their relatives, community staff from the voluntary sector, clinical and managerial staff from the NHS and dementia care researchers. Continue reading

Workshop on Religion, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity in Adult Care at University of York

olivia luijnenburgOlivia Luijnenburg is Research Associate at the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce. (374 words)

On the 7 July, Sue Westwood organised a workshop on Religion, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity in Adult Care at the University of York. Over twenty delegates were there from lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) charities or representative groups, care providers, chaplaincies or other religious organisations involved in care, and different universities. The workshop was a space to discuss opportunities and challenges around religion, people identifying as LGBTQ+, and adult care. The morning consisted of ice breakers, conversations on what religion means to the delegates, and a first look at the briefing document that was sent to all. This created a better understanding of delegates’ experiences, ideas, and potential worries. It also created a safe space for everyone to share their thoughts about sensitive topics such as rejection, sexuality, conflicting ideologies, and prejudice. Continue reading

The Gallery of Spiritualities – welcome to a new exhibition in a care home

olivia luijnenburgOlivia Luijnenburg is a Research Associate in King’s College London’s NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce. (460 words)

What is ‘spirituality’ in care? How can care home staff attend to residents’ spiritual needs? For my PhD project, I had the task of finding answers to such questions. When thinking about spirituality and spiritual needs, many people’s minds immediately go to religion and religious needs. However, what about care home residents who do not practice a religion or are not part of a religious community? We know that spiritual wellbeing is found through a sense of community, connection, nature, or the arts, which can but does not have to be of a religious nature. Surprisingly, the spiritual needs of older people in residential care have often been overlooked.

To address the lack of knowledge around spirituality in care and illuminate the intangibility of what spiritual needs might look like, I collected ‘artefacts’ from care home residents before talking with them. These could be an object, a space, a song, a person, or anything else that represented a sense of joy, peace, safety, or fond memories for the person. The ‘artefacts’ functioned as a conversation starter, as well as a stimulant to the imagination of what ‘spirituality’ might mean to the participant. They were photographed and collected in a ‘Gallery of Spiritualities’. Continue reading