Christine Fitzgerald (GBHI Fellow and CESRD Affiliate) visits University of British Columbia

As part of my work as an Atlantic Fellow with the Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin (www.gbhi.org) and as Visiting Fellow with the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, NUI Galway, I am interested in how psychosocial interventions are classified and how to make this area more effective for both research and practice in dementia care. I am delighted to be at the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia, University of British Columbia to discuss two elements of my current research. Firstly looking at how psychosocial interventions play a key role in the management of dementia, providing support through a variety of programmes, events and activities for people with dementia, families and carers. To-date, this area lacks a comprehensive framework to classify psychosocial interventions, limiting the effectiveness of intervention design, implementation and evaluation. Secondly, the use of best practice qualitative methods in capturing multi-level perspectives through a personhood lens in dementia care, as part of a psychosocial intervention evaluation strategy I am currently developing.

Funded by the Global Brain Health Institute, my visit to the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia provides me with the opportunity to gain expert insight into a broadened psychosocial classification framework, from a personhood and social citizenship perspective. Methodologically, the recent Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementias study Promoting Social Citizenship for people with Dementia through Community Based Programming outlines key learnings on research methods for including the perspectives and opinions of people with dementia, methods that I am incorporating into the psychosocial intervention evaluation strategy currently being developed with the GBHI.

During my time at UBC, I met with Professor Alison Phinney, Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia. Professor Phinney is a global leader in the application of flexible qualitative methodological approaches to explore how people with dementia and their families experience the impact of cognitive impairment on their everyday lives and how they manage dementia through involvement in meaningful activity. While at UBC, I was invited to present at the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia Colloquium, discussing the work I have been undertaking in the development of a broadened classification framework for psychosocial interventions to capture multi-level variables involved in psychosocial interventions, with the aim of providing a more individualised guide for psychosocial interventions. The Colloquium provided new perspectives and context to my research through engaging with professors, fellows, post-doctoral researchers and PhD candidates. This visit to the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia in UBC establishes links to synthesise the commonalties within the work of UBC, GBHI and CESRD, providing a source of knowledge sharing that will be further strengthened in coming months.