Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Clare Abley

Nurse Consultant Vulnerable Older Adults & Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer



My substantive post is as a nurse consultant for vulnerable older adults employed by The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This role comprises service and practice development, research, education, training and development and expert practice / consultancy for services for older people in both primary and secondary care.  

Work since 2011 has focused on improving dementia care in the acute hospital environment. This includes chairing chair the Trust Dementia Care Steering Group and leading on the development, implementation and monitoring of the Trust Dementia Care Strategy. I also line manage the Trust Dementia Care Team. Other strands of work relate to safeguarding vulnerable adults, including chairing the Improving Practice Committee which is a sub-group of the Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board, and leading associated work-streams.   

In 2010 I completed my PhD on patient centred care and vulnerability in old age and am particularly interested in ways to reduce vulnerability experienced by older people across the whole of the patient pathway from primary care, across secondary care and back to the community. In 2014 I started a prestigious NIHR Post-doctoral Fellowship (Clinical Lectureship) focusing on improving general hospital care for older people with cognitive impairment. This has involved a   systematic review of care and patient management interventions as well as an ethnographic study of patients' experiences. I am currently developing a toolkit for dementia care leaders, based on my research which will be tried in a small number of Trusts during 2018.  

As a clinical academic nurse I am committed to developing capacity and capability of clinical academics at all levels from internships to post doctoral work, especially in the care of older people including those living with dementia care.   

Area of expertise

  • Health care for vulnerable older adults including those with dementia and delirium


I currently hold a prestigious post-doctoral NIHR Clinical Academic Training Fellowship (Clinical Lectureship). My work up until 2019 will focus on developing a toolkit to improve general hospital care of older people with cognitive impairment (dementia and delirium). Funding to undertake this work was supplemented by a £35k grant from Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia, Newcastle University.

Other research has included working on the SDO NIHR funded 'Transitions' Study with colleagues from Newcastle and Manchester Universities and Kings college, London.  The study explored service provision and support for people at the early stages of memory loss and their carers / supporters. This study is now complete. The final report is available at the web address below. 


My doctorate (Newcastle University, 2010) - focused on patient centred care and vulnerability in old age.   

During 2010/11 I led work on a one day per week secondment basis to increase capacity for nursing research in primary care in the North of Tyne CLRN area. This involved establishing links with research collegues and clinical colleagues in primary care in the North of Tyne area and carrying out a questionnaire survey of nurses working in primary care to determine their knowledge, skills, experience and interest in carrying out research. Mechanisms for taking this work forward were identified. 

As well as contributing to the Ageing and Older People Research Theme, within the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, I am also a member of the Newcastle Institute on Ageing.  This is a cross-cutting institute which offers unprecedented infrastructure for ageing related research in terms of critical mass and experience in the widest range of ageing related research topics, as well as excellence in engagement. 


I currently supervise 2 PhD students (One at Newcastle University and one at Northumbria University), and have

a further 2 commencing studies in 2018 (Newcastle University). Three of these studies are in the field of dementia care.  






































the new Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA). This is a cross-cutting institute, which 

NUIA will offer unprecedented infrastructure for ageing-related research in terms of critical mass and experience in the widest range of ageing-related research topics, excellence in engagement and possibilities for impact.




Facilitator for the practice based course: Best Practice in Dementia Care (Stirling University). 

Extensive experience in planning and delivering work based education and training for individuals and groups in the care of older people and most recently in the care of people with dementia.