Dementia and nursing care home provider, Church Farm Care, who operate a West Bridgford care home – is taking part in a new hearing and dementia study being led by the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham.
The £149,000 ORCHARD Hearing Project, which is due to run until June 2018, has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research through the Research for Patient Benefit programme. The study aims to help optimise hearing related communication between carers and care home residents living with dementia by reviewing care, hearing and dementia literature, and discussing the problems residents with hearing loss and dementia face with a panel of experts.
Nottinghamshire-based Church Farm Care, which has four care homes across West Bridgford, Radcliffe-on-Trent and Cotgrave, has volunteered to join the panel and provide a real-life insight into hearing loss and dementia across its homes.
According to the Institute of Mental Health around 300,000 care home residents have dementia and hearing loss. The Institute’s study is looking at how to tackle a number of hearing related issues in care homes, including residents that may not tolerate hearing aids or understand the purpose of them, dealing with noisy environments and miscommunication between care staff and residents.
Lucy Atkinson from Church Farm Care, said: “We are very pleased to be involved in this important research and to be able to provide an insight into the care we provide for our residents suffering with dementia and hearing loss.
“Initially, the research panel came to one of our homes to speak to our carers, nurses, cleaners and admin staff to gain an understanding of our experience of working with people with dementia. We will now continue to attend regular meetings with the research panel to discuss issues that often arise and how we can tackle these to make life easier for our residents.
“As dementia care specialists, it is fantastic to be able to actively support such an important research project that hopes to improve life for those with hearing loss and dementia. The panel brings together experts from the sector who are all working for the joint objective of providing the best quality of life for dementia care home residents. I look forward to seeing the results of the study.”
The ORCHARD study team will be presenting its findings at academic conferences, as well as through peer review journals and will be disseminating its findings to local care home organisations upon completion.
Professor Tom Dening, ORCHARD Hearing Project lead and head of the Centre for Dementia Research at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham said: “I’ve had an interest in this clinical area for many years, having visited hundreds of people with dementia in care homes and finding that so many of them had hearing loss, I was keen to see how we could improve communication.
“After many months applying for funding we are now underway with our research, I am excited to look at new methods of improving quality of life in care homes across the UK.
“We have been gratified by the support and enthusiasm from leads in the industry like Church Farm Care and I’d like to thank them for being involved in this research and being so accommodating.”
Other organisations involved in the ORCHARD Hearing Project include Wren Hall nursing home, NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Centre, and Patient and Public Involvement in Research.