Friday, 28 August 2015

Nursing home residents comment on RATs projects and PPI in research

On 20.08.15, Dr Sheila Kennedy, Health Services Researcher and Louise Newbould, PhD student, both from the RAT Group in ScHARR, visited a Sheffield nursing home ( to tell residents about the research projects they are working on, and about some of the other work being carried out by their colleagues.  They were keen to hear what the residents thought generally about the use of assistive technologies in health care, to listen to their comments and answer questions about the various projects and to consider all their suggestions.

c/o The Broomgrove Trust, Broomgrove Road, Sheffield S10 2LR
Sheila spoke first about her role in recruiting and supporting older members of the public who get involved as lay advisers in a national project aiming to improve the outcomes and experiences of frail older people admitted for acute in-patient hospital care (contact:, and asked the group to describe what they understood by the term frailty.  Following a lively discussion with several valuable insights and personal accounts of the impact of being in hospital on frailty, Sheila moved on to talk about a community-based project promoting primary school children’s knowledge and awareness of dementia and the well-being of people living with dementia (Adopt a CareHome).
Sheila emphasised how valuable lay perspectives are to the quality and relevance of health care research generally, and described several other RATs projects benefiting from patient and public involvement (PPI).  She outlined the contributions of local people to the development, design and or the road-testing of various innovative products involving new technologies, including: ‘Intelligent Shoe’ designed to facilitate improvements in the mobility of people following a stroke (Contact:; an app connected to a step counter on a wrist band to record how far the user is walking, so as to guide and motivate people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as, over time, they gradually walk further, improving their exercise tolerance, lung function and general wellbeing (project link here), and a mobile phone app aiming to help maintain the independence and safety of people with a range of sensory, joint and cognitive impairments (Contact:
Louise described her plans to study the use, acceptability and potential benefits of older people living in care homes using video-conferencing in relation to facilitating instant access to advice from health care professionals and was eager to hear what the residents and manager of the home thought of using this type of technology.  With considerable interest shown by many of the residents in both the technology and the project, and some valuable comments from Donna, the home’s manager (, Louise invited the residents to attend an event she is organising on September 30th (12.45-1600) at Kenwood Hall in Sheffield. The invite only event will look at the pros and cons for technology in care homes.
For further information about the research study about the acute in-patient care for frail older people, or for further information about patient and public involvement in research, email:  or phone 0114 222 8279.
For further information about the health care video-conferencing in care homes project, or about the event in September, email: or phone Louise on 0114 222 1729

Written by Sheila Kennedy

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