Posts By / jonesc

Mental Capacity Act Conference 2019


On the 19th February 2019, Dr Ben Hicks from the Psychology Department and the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC), was fortunate to be invited to present two one hour workshops at the Mental Capacity Act Conference in Dorchester. This is the largest conference for social workers and was attended by around 500 delegates. The conference focussed on assessing capacity in individuals and through a range of presentations by judges and lawyers, sort to outline the many challenges that can be faced whilst undertaking this work. Of particular interest, was a Keynote speech by Alex Ruck Keene, a lawyer based in London that specialises in mental capacity and mental health law. He discussed the many ground-breaking cases he has been involved in regarding the Mental Capacity Act and the multiple publications he has authored that have influenced this area of practice. His passion for, and knowledge of the subject was clearly evident, and it is safe to say that the audience could have listened to him for well beyond his allotted hour and a half timeslot.

Whilst the majority of the conference was concerned with assessing capacity in individuals, Ben took a slightly different angle with his workshops and sought to demonstrate how the ADRC enable people with dementia to have the capacity to contribute to research. This includes: positioning them as experts and eliciting their views at all stages of project development; creating safe spaces where they feel comfortable expressing themselves; and adopting flexible research methods that have a ‘moral sensitivity’ to their capabilities and interests. Ben also outlined the multiple ways whereby society constructs barriers that socially exclude people with dementia and prevent their participation in research and wider society, as well as the work that the ADRC are undertaking to address this. One such method is through a Virtual Reality training program that provides participants with an immersive experience of what it may be like to live with the condition. This innovative approach was well received and a number of the workshop delegates have already approached Ben to enquire about delivering the training within their workplace. This highlights the great work that the ADRC are undertaking to empower people with dementia and provide innovative training to healthcare professionals that emphasises the rights and capacity this population has for contributing throughout society. As one delegate wrote during the evaluation feedback:

“More from Dr Ben Hicks and Bournemouth Uni. He gave an interesting presentation on ageing and dementia research and talked about the responsibilities both himself and his colleagues have undertaken in regards to this. I would be interested to hear more from them.”




The 4th AD-Autonomy Meeting in Brighton – Preparations for the e-Platform Launch

As part of the ERASMUS+2017 project, Dr Ben Hicks and Irma Konovalova from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre and Psychology department, hosted a three day meeting with their European partners from Slovenia, Turkey, Greece and Spain. The meetings were held in Brighton from the 11th-13th March 2019 and were the fourth in a series that have taken place over the past 1.5 years in the representative partner countries. During this time, the project has sought to collaborate alongside people with dementia and their care partners to explore how they seek to retain their autonomy throughout their journey with dementia, as well as develop an information portal that can support them with the challenges they may encounter. This fourth meeting presented an opportunity for the project partners to get together, view a prototype of the online information portal and discuss the training they will be delivering to the end-users during May-July 2019.


The fourth meeting is underway

The first day involved discussions about the training processes and the validation measures that could be used to explore its impact on the quality of life for people with dementia and their care partners. Given the varying professional backgrounds of the partners, with both academics and practitioners present, it was unsurprising that these were the liveliest discussions. However, by the end of the day an outcome was reached that satisfied everyone and so all partners headed off for a well-deserved dinner at a local tapas restaurant.  Although the discussions had been long, and sometimes fairly heated, everyone remained excited and positive about the final stages of the project.


Experiencing some Spanish culture in Brighton

The concluding two days were a little less emotionally charged, as the partners discussed the implementation of the training program within the different countries as well as the dissemination of the final outputs. The project will conclude in September 2019 and plans are underway to present the findings through: setting up local events within the representative countries; writing one technical and one academic paper for the varied audiences; and delivering presentations at international conferences. So far two conferences have been targeted for 2019: the International MinD Conference “Designing with and for People with Dementia: Wellbeing, Empowerment and Happiness,” held in Germany, and the Open Living Lab Days “Co-creating innovation: scaling up from Local to Global” in Greece.  However, given the positive feedback the project has received to date, it is likely that more opportunities for international dissemination will present themselves in the future.

Exciting times await!

By Irma Konovalova





New ‘DEALTS 2’ dementia education protocol paper by ADRC team

Many congratulations to Dr Michelle Heward, Dr Michele Board, Ashley Spriggs and Pro Jane Murphy from the ADRC for their new publication ‘Design and evaluation protocol for ‘DEALTS 2’: a simulation-based dementia education intervention for acute care settings’ in International Psychogeriatrics.

The team was commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) to develop and evaluate ‘DEALTS 2’, a national simulation-based education toolkit informed by the Humanisation Values Framework, developed at Bournemouth University and based on an experiential learning approach to facilitate positive impacts on practice. This paper describes the process of developing DEALTS 2 and the protocol for evaluating the impact of this intervention on practice across England.

The paper was published online on 3rd January 2019:

Using drama and storytelling in dementia care: Kick-off meeting for ERASMUS+ 2018 funded project

Using drama and storytelling in dementia care: Kick-off meeting for ERASMUS+ 2018 funded project

Last week, Dr Ben Hicks, I and the European partners from Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Ireland began the ERASMUS+ 2018 funded project, exploring drama and storytelling in dementia care. The kick-off meeting was held in Bucharest, Romania, where all partners met to discuss the implementation of the project and establish targets for the next two years.

The morning session began with a discussion regarding the process of producing a booklet “Life in a story: creative arts and storytelling use for Alzheimer’s Disease patients and carers”. This will be based on a systematic review, conducted by Bournemouth University, and interviews with professionals who use drama and storytelling as a mean to engage people with dementia. In the afternoon, representatives from The Gaiety School of Acting, Ireland, introduced us to the use of theatre and storytelling. This was by far the most creative and interesting moment from the meeting, as we passed a ball of string amongst ourselves whilst regaling the proudest moment in our life.

The ball of string went around the table and everyone got a chance to tell their story. At the end, we could tangibly see that although we were all individuals, we each had similar stories that bound us together. The partners from Gaiety School of Acting will be creating a training programme using similar methods that focus of theatre and storytelling to train health and social care professionals to better understand, engage and support people living with dementia and their care partners.


As the meeting progressed, we also discussed the preparation of a toolkit for family carers to improve communication with people with dementia as well as the policy recommendations required for creating dementia friendly communities and institutions through the use of creative arts.

The meeting went well, and clear targets and future plans were established for the project. Moving forward, Bournemouth University will now begin conducting a systematic review of the area as well as interviews with dementia practitioners. This phase of the research will conclude in April 2019 and will inform the development of a ‘Train-the-Trainer booklet that will supplement the future drama and storytelling workshops (Phase 2).

My first international meeting as a research assistant exceeded my expectations. We received a very warm welcome, tackled the workload with a lot of heated discussions and achieved positive outcomes from the meeting. It was interesting to learn about cross cultural differences in dementia care and the benefits that the creative arts can offer people with dementia and their care partners. However, it was also upsetting to listen to project partners sharing their experiences of battling their Governments to provide even the most minimal of financial support for those living with dementia. Hopefully, this ERASMUS+ 2018 project will not only bring more dementia awareness across European countries, but also enable a wide variety of people to use drama and storytelling in dementia care to improve understanding of dementia and enhance the support provided to those living with the condition. I really look forward to the practical part of this project, when we receive the training from Gaiety School of Acting.

Blog written by Irma Konovalova (Research Assistant in the ADRC).


An update on The TACIT TRIAL: Tai Chi for people with dementia

The TACIT Trial has reached some important milestones recently.

We closed the study to recruitment in July and we completed our last Tai Chi class earlier this month. Data collection will come to an end later this month with data cleansing, analysis, and write-up to follow. We’ll then expect to know the main results by around March 2019.

In the meantime, those interested to find out more about the study can read some papers published from the study:

[1] The findings from the pilot intervention phase, led by BU PhD student Yolanda Barrado-Martín:

Barrado-Martín, Y., Heward, M., Polman, R., & Nyman, S. R. (2018). Acceptability of a dyadic Tai Chi intervention for older people living with dementia and their informal carers. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, published online 30 August, DOI: 10.1123/japa.2017-0267.

[2] The trial protocol, led by chief investigator Samuel Nyman:

Nyman, S. R., Hayward, C., Ingram, W., Thomas, P., Thomas, S., Vassallo, M., Raftery, J., Allen, H., & Barrado-Martín, Y. (2018). A randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of Tai Chi alongside usual care with usual care alone on the postural balance of community-dwelling people with dementia: Protocol for The TACIT Trial (TAi ChI for people with dementia). BMC Geriatrics, 18, e263. DOI:

You can also find out more about the study here: