The record £1,680,224 grant, which will be awarded over five years, will enable expert researchers at the University to create a ‘Centre of Excellence’ focusing on key priority areas within dementia care research.
And the funding will also boost the number of researchers working in dementia care, with the aim of making the UK a world leader in the field.
Newcastle University is one on of three pioneering ‘Centres of Excellence’ to be created nationwide with the help of grants of up to £2m, the others being the University of Exeter and University College London. However, Alzheimer’s Society hopes to establish more in the future.
There are an estimated 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK – 35,000 of them in the North East – and this number is expected to exceed one million by 2021.
The need to provide good care for those affected, therefore, is urgent. However, current care practices are not always at the standard people with dementia deserve, with many experiencing issues such as poor support after a diagnosis.
Dementia care research ensures that people who are affected by dementia today are able to receive the highest standard of care. However, the number of researchers specialising in dementia care is too low.
Alzheimer’s Society’s unique investment will allow more researchers to address some of the most pressing issues in dementia care research and put the UK on track to be a world leader in providing the best care possible for people with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society Head of Research Development, Colin Capper, said: “Dementia is set to the 21st century’s biggest killer and there is currently no cure. People living with dementia have the right to the best possible care.
“Today we are laying the foundations for building networks of internationally recognised researchers in dementia care in the UK. We are making major investments that will contribute a great deal towards improving care and support for people affected by dementia.
“We are excited at the potential that each of these Centres of Excellence hold for improving care and hope to establish further Centres over the coming years. These Centres are an excellent example of how being united against dementia, and listening to those affected, can bring about real and lasting change through high-quality, world-leading research. It presents a unique opportunity for collaboration with health and social care providers and policy makers.”
Alzheimer’s Society acknowledged there are many areas of dementia care that need to be addressed. In order to build a focused dementia care research programme the charity asked people affected by dementia, their carers, its staff and volunteers and the research community, to help set the priority areas for the Centres of Excellence.
Better support after diagnosis
Louise Robinson, Director of Newcastle University Institute for Ageing and Professor of Primary Care and Ageing, will lead an expert team to understand how to help people receive better support after a diagnosis.
They will examine whether receiving the support through ‘primary care’ routes such as GPs or community services will improve the support people receive. They believe this approach could reduce the so-called ‘postcode lottery’ where access to support through secondary care services such as memory clinics can vary depending on where a person lives.
Professor Robinson said: “Throughout Newcastle University we have a well-developed, multi-disciplinary programme of dementia research. We examine everything from the causes and potential cures of dementia, to the care models and societal changes that support people living with dementia, and their families.
“We want to address what resources are needed to provide a better quality of care, and how these can be successfully delivered; understanding the costs of this care against the long-term benefits.”
To find out more about Alzheimer’s Society’s research programme visit: www.alzheimers.org.uk/research
To find out more about dementia research at Newcastle University, visit: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ageing/dementia/
Press release with thanks to the Alzheimer’s Society
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