Dementia knowledge transfer project in a rural area
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Rural Scotland has an ageing population. There has been an increase in the number of people with dementia and as the proportion of people aged over 75 years continues to rise, this will increase still further. The Scottish Government has produced a dementia strategy and implementing this will be a challenge for rural Scotland.
Transferring academic knowledge into practice is challenging. A Knowledge Transfer Partnership was formed between NHS Highland and the University of Stirling. A literature review was undertaken of the rural dementia literature; local services were surveyed and described; and interviews were undertaken with people with dementia and carers. Work was conducted on training, diagnostic service provision and local policy. Throughout the project, a collaborative approach was used, which aimed at the joint production of knowledge.
Involving University staff in local service development had a substantial impact. Reviewing existing research knowledge and setting it in the context of local services, and of experience of service use, allowed the relevant priorities to be identified. As well as identifying training needs and providing training, the work influenced local decisions on diagnostic service design and standards, and on policy.
This embedded engagement model appeared to produce more rapid change than traditional models of use of academic knowledge.