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Queen's Anniversary Prize for world-leading work to improve the lives of people living with dementia

Published: Fri 26 Feb 2016
Queen's Anniversary Prize for world-leading work to improve the lives of people living with dementia

The presentation, by the Prince of Wales, was made at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace attended by University Chancellor Kate Swann, Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor and Professor Murna Downs, Chair in Dementia Studies at the University.

The University of Bradford is one of only 21 institutions in this round to receive the prestigious accolade, which honours world-class excellence and achievement. It is the highest form of national recognition that UK higher education institutions can achieve. The University has been honoured for its leadership in developing person-centred dementia care, and for influencing policy and practice in the UK and internationally.

First awarded in 1994, the biennial Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are awards within the nation’s honours system. They recognise outstanding excellence, genuine innovation and practical benefit across a range of work taking place in UK higher and further education. The Royal Anniversary Trust administers the scheme and its Awards Council makes recommendations for awards to The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The University’s research has been central to the transformation of care for people affected by dementia. Bradford’s role and impact is based on sustained excellence, spanning research and high-quality teaching and learning, with an unmatched record of engagement with care providers, regulators, and people with dementia and their families.

Bradford’s work in dementia care has had outstanding impact, reaching a wide range of care settings in the UK and beyond, including working with care providers and national bodies on new approaches to developing a highly skilled workforce, and measuring the quality of care. The University has trained over 10,000 care staff across four continents and enabled adoption of person-centred approaches in policy and practice.

The University’s research focused on two key themes: helping people to live well with dementia, and improving the quality of care for people with dementia, both driven by the School of Dementia Studies.

Living well with dementia examines the experience of dementia from the perspectives of both the people living with the condition and their families, from diagnosis through to end-of-life. The aim is to apply this knowledge to ensure optimal wellbeing for people affected by dementia. Research projects examine a range of influences on the experience of living with dementia including social, cultural and family contexts; relational and personal history; unique cognitive changes associated with different types of dementia; and user involvement and empowerment.

Improving the quality of care for people with dementia focuses on developing ways to understand, evaluate and improve care, with a focus on care provision by paid staff. The principles of person-centred care, developed within the School of Dementia Studies, are a core part of this research theme. The School continually seeks to test, evaluate and improve the tools and materials it has developed around person-centred care. Its Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) tool, developed to help implement these principles, is currently being evaluated in a multi-site, £2.4m project funded by the National Institute for Health Research. The aim is to assess the effectiveness of DCM in helping staff reduce agitation in people with dementia and improve their quality of life, as well as improving the working environment for staff, increasing the quality of their engagements with patients and reducing staff sickness and absence.

Professor Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “We are extremely proud and honoured to be awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our dementia research, education and training. The University has an established record in carrying out truly great research that significantly impacts on the world. This is the first Queen’s Anniversary Prize that we have been awarded, and it demonstrates the difference that the University of Bradford is making in influencing policy and care for the most vulnerable people in our society, in the UK and across the world.

“One of the University’s key academic themes is advanced healthcare, and dementia studies is a key element of this. An ageing society, with increasing long-term conditions such as dementia, poses considerable global challenges, creating increasing demand on services with fewer resources to deliver them. Bradford’s leadership in delivering solutions in the field of dementia care, both in improving lives and quality of care, puts real meaning into the fact that 96 per cent of our research is ranked as world leading or internationally recognised.”

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