A helping hand with insulin injections: training Healthcare Support Workers to support older people with diabetes

It’s best practice for people with diabetes to look after their health by injecting their own insulin. As people get older, however, they are likely to have other conditions that make this harder or unsafe to do. Dr Karen Stenner, from the University of Surrey and Principal Investigator of the CINDI Project, set out to evaluate the emerging practice of registered nurses delegating insulin injections to Healthcare Support Workers in community nursing teams. Could this alleviate workload pressures and bring benefits to patients and nursing teams alike?

Harnessing health data to improve care for older people

When Dr Oliver Todd from the University of Leeds embarked on a Dunhill Medical Trust Research Training Fellowship aimed at finding out whether blood pressure management is linked to an increased risk of falls, it opened up a whole new world of research to improve care for older people.

Can the epigenetic clock predict musculoskeletal disease?

Almost two-thirds of people aged 65 and over live with musculoskeletal disease, but current methods of predicting who is most at risk have limited use. Through his DMT-funded PhD, academic clinician Dr Nicholas Fuggle made an exciting discovery that could help to predict musculoskeletal ageing ahead of time.

Why does an infection after stroke cause worse disability?

Recovering from a stroke is hard enough yet many patients go on to get an infection, sometimes months into their recovery. For some of these patients, this can lead to more disability. Dr Rebecca Trueman, at the University of Nottingham, led a pilot study to uncover new targets that could help to protect recovering stroke patients.

Sunset over the sea.

Hospital, hospice or home? How social deprivation affects end of life care

End of life care is a sensitive but hugely important subject. Many people say that they would like to die at home rather than in hospital. Yet living in a more deprived area means you’re significantly more likely to die in hospital, less likely to die in a hospice, and less likely to die at home. Joanna Davies is investigating why this happens, and how it might be changed to better fulfil people’s wishes.

Stimulating the vagus nerve to improve gait in Parkinson’s

Falls are a major cause of lost independence in people with Parkinson’s. Dr Alison Yarnall is trialling a new method to reduce fall risk and improve walking in people with Parkinson’s, which involves non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve.

Close-up photo of a wildflower meadow in bloom

The birds and the bees: Can enjoying nature promote health and wellbeing in older people?

There’s growing evidence that engaging with outdoor spaces promotes health and wellbeing across all ages. Yet as we get older, our changing abilities, motivations and means could prevent us from reaping the rewards of interacting with nature. Professor Birgitta Gatersleben and Dr Ciara O’Brien from the University of Surrey set out to co-design and test a nature-based conservation activity with residents at Whiteley Retirement Village, to see what works best for who, and to empower older people to enjoy the outdoors.

Getting older people back on their feet after unplanned hospital admissions

When older people have unplanned hospital admissions, they often experience muscle strength loss. This can have long-lasting effects when they return home, meaning they’re not able to do everyday tasks that they were previously able to do. Peter Hartley investigated loss of muscle strength in older people during hospital admissions, and whether doing exercise during their hospital stay could prevent it.

Targeting CD148 to ‘switch off’ age-related diseases

Dr James Whiteford and his team at Queen Mary University of London are investigating how to activate a molecular ‘off switch’ that could slow or even reverse age-related diseases such as macular degeneration and lung fibrosis.

7 shelves filled with books

Returning the pleasure of reading to people with dementia

Reading is one of life’s great pleasures, as well as being essential to many daily tasks. Sadly, difficulty reading is also one of the first symptoms of Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), a rare form of dementia. Neuropsychologist Dr Aida Suárez-González has made it her mission to return this ability to people with PCA, in the process helping people with other neurological conditions too.