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Joint dementia studies award for Devon collective effort


Professionals from the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and the Devon Partnership NHS Trust and have received an award from the National Institute for Health Research for joint research efforts into dementia.


The trusts work together as the Devon Dementia Collaboration to set up and deliver investigations.

Much of the success has derived from the number of people recruited to take part in the research and the ease in which they can do it.

The Join Dementia Research service was launched in February, and details of how to join it, and help improve knowledge of the condition, are below. It is a free service which enables anyone with or without dementia aged over 18 to register by telephone or online their interest in dementia research.

Between April and November 2015 the total number of people recruited to dementia studies in the South West (Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) was 104, and 46 of these were enrolled by the Devon Dementia Collaboration.

Senior Research Practitioner Nicola Walker at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital said: “One particular study is looking at detecting susceptibility genes for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and involves one home visit by two researchers to carry out cognitive testing, a semi-structured interview and taking a blood sample.”

“With Join Dementia Research I was able to recruit the first patient to a study within 11 days of approval to open that study. It was a straight forward process because the Join Dementia Research service provides for volunteers who don’t mind being approached to take part in studies.”

NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula Chief Operating Officer Helen Quinn said: “Devon Dementia Collaboration has been innovative in how it has brought together the expertise and skills from different specialist trusts to benefit their patients. They set aside conventional ways of delivering research and came up with an effective alternative. We were impressed by how they demonstrated truly working together as a team with a shared aim.”

The Devon Dementia Collaboration was one of 20 teams nominated from Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for the award.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network for the South West Peninsula also presented a runner-up award to the senior research nurse team at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust for increasing the number of non-medical Principal Investigators for research studies.
The RD&E has encouraged experienced research nurses and practitioners to take on the responsibilities of Principal Investigator in which they are responsible for the delivery of a study on their site.

Helen Quinn added: “The RD&E senior research nurse team reviewed the types of clinical trials which could be run by non-medical PIs and since April this has been applied to 16 studies. As well as increasing the research portfolio, this work has improved staff satisfaction and all the studies led by the new Principal Investigators recruited on time and target.”



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