Work Package 6: Sharing Knowledge and Supporting Innovative Practice

Involving Others in Conducting Research and Sharing Findings.

As a research project that runs over three years, the DesHCA project has the rare opportunity to dedicate time and resources to making sure we not only hear the voices of the different individuals, groups, organisations and sectors that have an interest in designing homes for healthy cognitive aging, but that we communicate in a way that lets them hear our voice in return.

DesHCA’s design invites different stakeholders to take part in shaping and contributing to the research process throughout the project. This means inviting key stakeholders, professionals, and older people to help design and conduct in research itself, while also building networks and relationships that give us the opportunity to share our findings as we develop them.

Reference & Advisory Groups (led by Dr Cate Pemble)

DesHCA has two main groups that act as ‘critical friends’. Members of these groups are people with significant expertise or experience who have agreed to be ‘critical friends’ and guides for the DesHCA project.

The Reference Group is a group of people who are ‘experts by experience’. This means their expertise and insight comes from their life experience, whether that comes from having their own needs change as they age, or supporting others who might benefit or have benefited from supportive design and adaptation. 

Members of the reference group are given the opportunity to influence many different areas of the DesHCA project. They’re a vital part of our process, and key to making sure we keep the needs and desires of older people at the centre of our research.   

The Reference Group is still open to new members, and we are actively looking to hear from groups that often find themselves left out of ageing and dementia research. If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about becoming part of the Reference Group, please don’t hesitate to contact the team to find out more. 

The Advisory Group is a group of academics and experts from different areas that have the in-depth knowledge necessary to help guide the project and identify opportunities. 

These academics come from different disciplinary backgrounds and are close enough to be enthusiastic about DesHCA without being involved in the day-to-day aspects of the project. Being part of the advisory group gives members a top down view of the project, which can help them to identify different challenges and opportunities than the ones noticed by the DesHCA team ‘on the ground’, making the project stronger overall. 

Community Researchers (led by Dr Cate Pemble)

Community researchers are volunteers who join the DesHCA project as part of the research team. Our community researchers are usually also members of the Reference Group, and are older people who want to contribute more directly to the day-to-day activities of the project. 

Each community researcher brings a different set of skills and strengths to the team, and they are supported to contribute to the areas that interest them the most. This means that different peer researchers will be involved in different areas of the research at different times over the course of the project. Our community researchers Ro Pengelly and Joan Gibson were even involved in writing the bid itself!

There are still opportunities for new members to join our community research team. If you or someone you know is interested in taking part, or curious about the support or training that would be provided if they volunteered, please contact the team to find out more. 

Knowledge Exchange Events (led by Dr Cate Pemble)

What is a Knowledge Exchange Event

There are many events and activities throughout the DesHCA project that involve bringing a group of people together to talk about a subject. These activities usually focus on moving the majority of information in one direction, either from participant to researcher, or researcher to participant. 

DesHCA’s knowledge exchange events are slightly different. These events will be designed to help information flow in multiple directions in an atmosphere that encourages learning from both the research team and the people in the ‘audience’. These events will develop as the project does, and will be targeted to meet the needs of different stakeholder groups over time. 

Our first Knowledge Exchange Events will focus on drawing in information. Our cost-benefit digital roundtable will bring together members of the research team to discuss what the literature says about the challenges associated with creative cognitively supportive housing and comparing that with the real-world experience of attendees. This will be followed by another event that will invite older people to tell us about what they know about supportive home design and adaptations, where they found that information, and what they wish they’d known sooner, while asking questions of the research team. 

Later events will begin to focus more on presenting DesHCA’s insights and findings to particular groups and asking for their insight and feedback. This ‘sense checking’ process will help the research team refine our findings, and help us to deliver recommendations and resources that are targeted, evidence based, and useful as the project goes on. 

Our goal is to create a series of events where people are encouraged to ask questions, contribute their insights, and raise their concerns to help DesHCA consider the challenges of designing healthy cognitive ageing from as many positions as possible before we reach our final stages.

Legacy Resources (led by Professor Alison Bowes)

Legacy resources refer to the resources developed by the DesHCA project that will be available for people to use after the project ends in 2024. Legacy resources are a vital part of creating change and supporting a move towards creating homes that are more supportive for people as they age. These resources will be based on the most up to date research evidence and targeted towards helping different groups tackle different challenges on the path to creating more sustainable cognitively supportive homes.

We don’t know what most of these resources will look like, yet, but we do know that they will include the Cost-Benefit Framework developed as part of Work Package 1, and the Serious Game developed in Work Package 4. New resources will be announced in our Newsletter, and made available in our Resources section once they are ready.