Crowborough dementia research team recognised


A local mental health team has received an award from the National Institute for Health Research for the work they have done to make research available to dementia patients.

The High Weald, Lewes and Havens Specialist Older Adults Mental Health Memory Service was awarded the NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent Surrey and Sussex Research Support Award in the Mental Health Trust category.

The team were recognised for working together with The Dementia Research Unit, based at Crowborough Hospital. The Unit aims to improve the treatment of dementia by carrying out world-class clinical trials.

From 66 individuals and teams nominated a panel of expert judges chose four overall winners.

The awards are an opportunity for colleagues who work in research, either as researchers or in research delivery, to thank non-research colleagues who provide invaluable support to the delivery of research within the NHS.

The team were nominated for being engaged with dementia research, making changes to their documentation to promote research, for welcoming research staff to their team meetings to discuss studies and for keeping research on their agenda despite pressures on their workload throughout the pandemic.

In her nomination, Natalie Portwine, Clinical Research Team Leader at The Dementia Research Unit, said:

The team are always considerate about their patient’s wellbeing when referring, asking questions around the studies and what participation involves before making any referrals. This team have provided a significant number of referrals to the Dementia Research Unit over the past two years and have enabled many people attending memory services, including people living with dementia and living with memory difficulties, to participate in research.

Natalie Portwine, Dementia Research Unit, Crowborough

The judging panel were impressed with the way the team has really embraced research and kept it as a focus by thinking about the different ways to tell people living with dementia and living with memory difficulties about research opportunities, especially during the pandemic.

The team are excited and overwhelmed to be recognised for their research work. This is some of the reactions from team members:

It’s positive to enable people living with memory difficulties and dementia to be involved in research opportunities. Many people want to give something back and help others, and being involved in research empowers them to do this. Our Memory Assessment Service works together with research as a cohesive team, and it’s great to be part of that.

I was slightly surprised and very pleased for the team as I know many people work very hard.

I am very pleased, both personally and also I think how well the team works to maintain the process to help give excellent care and diagnosis to an increasing number of referrals.

It is uplifting for our hard work and team efforts to be recognised!

I am very pleased that the team has been recognised for working together with the Dementia Research Unit. It’s great that we able to work with others to improve patient care and choice, hopefully improve help towards finding new treatments, learning how best to prevent dementia and understanding how best to support people and their families living with dementia.

The other three winners were:

  • Katherine Lee, Lead Critical Care Pharmacist, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Children’s Emergency Department, Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sexual Health Team, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

Click for more information about the Dementia Research Unit.



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