Dementia - Innovative care for persons with dementia


Dementia - Innovative care for persons with dementia


Dementia - Innovative care for persons with dementia

Innovate Dementia project’s transnational Symposium success

A transnational Symposium organised by LJMU and Mersey Care NHS Trust, who were chosen as the UK representatives for Innovate Dementia, a three year trans-European €5.4 million project, took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Liverpool last week. The event also received local and national media coverage including a feature on BBC Breakfast and BBC North West Tonight.

Representatives from the Mersey Care NHS Trust, academics, businesses and service users attended presentations and workshops looking at which innovative approaches and technology can address the needs of the growing number of people with dementia across north-west Europe with partnerships in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK.

This included discussions around intelligent lighting; nutrition; exercise; and living environments to be tested out either in people's homes, wards or care home environments which will be known as 'Living Labs'.


Speakers at the event included; Professor Alistair Burns (National Clinical Director for Dementia), Joe Rafferty (Chief Executive, Mersey Care NHS Trust), Kate Johnston (LJMU Dean for the Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences), Councillor Roz Gladden (Assistant Mayor of Liverpool, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health), Dr David Fearnley (Medical Director, Mersey Care NHS Trust), Dr Ann Johnson, MBE (Dementia campaigner living with dementia), Nada Savitch (Director, Innovations in Dementia), Professor Mary Marshall (Dementia Services Development Centre, Stirling University) and Dr Sudip Sikdar (Consultant Psychiatrist Merseycare NHS Trust).

Grahame Smith, Principal Lecturer at the LJMU Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences and part of the Innovate Dementia project team at the University commented:


"There is a pressing need to develop innovative and cost effective approaches across North West Europe for people living with dementia, though it is important to recognise that the most successful technologies are the ones that 'fit' with the real needs of the user.

"To address this issue the Innovate Dementia project is underpinned by a pragmatic research approach which openly engages all relevant partners with an emphasis on improving the real-life care of people living with dementia through the use of sustainable innovation. The value of this approach is that it places service users and carers at the centre of the research-to-innovation process."

Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Trust Joe Rafferty said:


"This project sits at the heart of what we do and our aspirations to improve the experience and maximise the potential for all those whose lives are affected by dementia.

"Mersey Care has a longstanding record for involving the people who use our services and their carers, in everything we do – and significantly Innovate Dementia will work together with people with dementia to develop new approaches and practical solutions that will have an impact both locally and across North West Europe.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with LJMU, bringing together experience, practice and academic excellence to provide all the key elements for a successful project."

Tom Dunne, who is a member of the Steering Group for the project, has been living with dementia for two years and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year, commented:


"It is the recognition and awareness of dementia that this project provides which is really important. As someone suffering from dementia, it has been a real boost for me to put my opinions across and be given a say in what I think should be done. And that is what is fantastic about the project, it gives people living with dementia a voice. The involvement of LJMU is great as I feel that universities are for ideas and to research into new ways of solving challenges. The Living Labs will also be a perfect way to test things out and see what works."

A 'Singing for the Brain' Alzheimer’s Society session also took place to look at how this can be used to increase mood, memory and movement capabilities.  This singing model has been designed by the Alzheimer’s Society to help people with dementia and their families to feel part of society where they have a right to artistic and social stimulation.  LJMU is working with the Alzheimer’s Society in their evaluation of a  range of non-pharmacological interventions they offer including 'Singing for the Brain'.


The Innovate Dementia collaboration between LJMU and Mersey Care NHS Trust combines clinical expertise with academic and business development skills and experience to address the issues faced by people living with dementia in an innovative way.

There are currently 35.6 million people worldwide living with Dementia and this number is expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050 (WHO 2012). 

The project will focus on four key areas for development - the use of Innovate Dementia will draw together current research evidence and best practice and use this to influence the development of new technologies and lifestyles to both prevent the onset of dementia, and enable people to live well with the condition once diagnosed.

The involvement of people with dementia is central to the project. It uses an 'Open Lab' approach which brings people living with dementia together with businesses to explore the issues facing them. The businesses will then develop innovative solutions to those issues. The solutions will then be tested out either in people's homes, wards or care home environments and these are known as 'Living Labs'.

To watch a fragment of the symposium on Bay TV

To watch a fragment of the symposium on BBC (coming soon online)

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