Embarked on your PhD journey during the COVID-19 pandemic? Same here!
My name is Thaïs Caprioli and I’m studying at the University of Liverpool within the Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC). My interests in health service research and health inequalities stem from my years as a physiotherapist and, more recently, as a programme coordinator within a health programme implementing in lower- and middle-income countries. I am especially interested in health inequalities that relate to and negatively impact the well-being of people living with dementia (PLWD) and informal carers. For the next three years or so, I will be exploring the facilitators and barriers to engaging with community support services in dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.
Community support services is an umbrella term that includes an array of services that support PLWD living at home and informal carers, to remain in their communities for as long as possible. These can, for example, include paid home care or peer support groups. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented burden on an already strained social care system and caused fundamental changes in the delivery of services. Whilst many PLWD and informal carers are sadly left without, or with a reduced access to services, some community support services are turning towards digital technologies (such as Zoom or Skype) or using the telephone to provide remote support and stay connected with care recipients. Adapting the way community support services are delivered during these challenging times enables PLWD and informal carers to continue to access some forms of support, support which many relied on before the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, whilst digitalising care provision may facilitate access to support and be welcomed by some, it may also form walls and further hinder access to others.
Little is known how remote community support services have been previously delivered or what types of supportive interventions were accessed. This forms the premises of my systematic review, and I will (hopefully) be able to share my findings with you in the next several months. We have also designed a longitudinal study to explore how community support services were delivered before and at two timepoints during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data collection is due to start soon, so watch this space!
Looking ahead and beyond my PhD, I hope to combine my interests in dementia care and global health and continue to help improve the well-being of PLWD and informal carers.
Thaïs Caprioli is a PhD Student of ARC NWC at University of Liverpool, undertaking health service research and exploring health inequalities. A passion that stems from her years working with people living with dementia, and as a physiotherapist and as a programme coordinator within a health programme implementing in lower- and middle-income countries. In her spare time she can mostly be found reading a book with a cup of coffee.