Amidst the corona virus outbreak, and seeing exactly how different countries react to it first hand, it was lovely being back in Maastricht for my Alzheimer’s Society funded project. The unique thing about Maastricht is that it is placed so close to the borders of Germany and Belgium, which makes it even more international!
Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Nederlands, I could go back to Maastricht for the third time in about a year to check up on the progress of my study. The project is looking at inequalities in accessing formal dementia care services, by comparing data from England and the Netherlands.
One thing that strikes me as a big bonus in terms of recruitment in England is the NIHR Portfolio. Once your externally funded study is adopted onto the portfolio, you get approached by even more NHS Trusts who want to take part in your study. Why? Because for a certain number of accruals or participants to a study, the NHS Trusts gets brownie points and more money to support their general work. So, there are some real benefits for memory clinics and hospitals to hep study recruitment.
Take a look at the Netherlands, and that’s not the case. For care homes, hospital staff, and other settings and professionals to help you with handing out a survey for example, they have to be themselves interested in this. They have to see the direct benefits to them, which might not always be there. Obviously, there are keen organisations that are helping us in the Maastricht and Limburg region in the Netherlands, but it does seem much easier so far to recruit in England.
And that’s reflected in the recruitment tally to date! I’m coming up to 100 questionnaires from across the North West Coast region, whilst we are only having short of 20 so far from the Netherlands. That can still change though, as my collaborators are active bees and pushing to get the survey out there as much as possible!
What’s also good about being immersed for a week in a different setting, is that you don’t only catch up with colleagues and now some old friends, but that you have the time to get some of those things done that were long on you to do list – without much distraction from the regular office! I was able to draft a good chunk of writing about the study, just hearing the humming of Dutch sounds around me.
Next destination will hopefully be the AAIC in Amsterdam in July, hopefully presenting some of our first findings! Email notifications will be sent out on the 23rd, so I’m keeping my eyes on my inbox!
Dr Clarissa Giebel is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Liverpool and NIHR CLAHRC North West Coast. She has been working in dementia care research for over 7 years focusing her research on on helping people with dementia live at home independently for longer.
You can follow Clarissa on Twitter Follow @ClarissaGiebel