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Case study: Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and the value of using Join Dementia Research to recruit study participants

Rachel Smith manages the Trust’s use of Join Dementia Research and explains how they use it.

Join Dementia Research is a national register where anyone over the age of 18, with or without a dementia diagnosis can sign-up to take part in dementia research. Research and Development teams within NHS Mental Health Trusts use Join Dementia Research to find potential volunteers to take part in dementia trials running at their organisations.

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) recognises the value of Join Dementia Research by having a dedicated member of the team to manage the Trust’s use of the system. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, several members of the team used Join Dementia Research to recruit participants to studies such as the AD Genetics study and the Problem Adaptation Therapy for Depression in Dementia (PATHFINDER) study. The team would individually conduct searches and contact potential participants. They now have a dedicated member of staff, Rachel Smith, an Assistant Clinical Research Practitioner, to manage Join Dementia Research for the whole team which streamlines the process.

Rachel is trained and authorised to use Join Dementia Research and she conducts daily checks to screen for participants, then she will pass on details to the Clinical Research Practitioners within the team who will contact the person identified by Rachel about joining a study. Rachel has access to volunteers’ contact details, some basic medical information such as diagnosis, and medication information, which will help the service match the volunteer’s information to studies being run at the Trust.

Rachel said: “Join Dementia Research is useful as it provides us with access to thousands of potential volunteers who want to be involved in research. The service helps researchers improve study recruitment, ensuring studies are delivered on time and to target. Also, we can see how people would like to be contacted (i.e. through email, by telephone), and also we can leave messages for people via the site.”

Having a dedicated member of staff to manage Join Dementia Research will enable the Trust to apply to have more of their Trust-led studies placed onto the system as the workload will be easily managed.

KMPT are dedicated to improving dementia services within the county and this year have rolled out a new Enhanced Memory Assessment and Intervention service providing a fast-track dementia diagnosis for those referred. The clinicians within this service will inform service users that the Trust is research active and ask for consent for the research team to make contact to promote local studies and Join Dementia Research. Find out more information in this news article on the KMPT website

Clinical Research Practitioners also promote Join Dementia Research during face-to-face research visits when it is appropriate to do so. With more KMPT service users learning about Join Dementia Research and the type of studies that are available to take part in, more people will have the opportunity to take part in important dementia research.

Amy Hammond, Clinical Research Team Leader at KMPT said: “Join Dementia Research gives service users the control to decide whether to sign up and take part in a relevant study. It not only gives them access to studies being run by KMPT but access to studies from across the country, especially online or survey studies which can be completed from home.”

Find out more about the KMPT Research and Innovation team on the KMPT website.