Mental health service were recognised for research support to help patients suffering with dementia

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Local mental health service nominated for award

A local mental health service was recognised for their commitment to help dementia patients understand and participate in research projects.

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

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.

Dementia Research Unit nominated mental health service

The mental health service team was nominated by Natalie Portwine, Clinical Research Team Leader at The Dementia Research Unit, which aims to improve the treatment of dementia by carrying out clinical trials.

In her nomination, Natalie 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.”

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.

Mental health service team reactions to award

The team from the mental health service were excited to be recognised for their research work and shared three of the reactions from the team after winning the award:

“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.”

For more information about the Dementia Research Unit go to:


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