Working with staff to include people
with dementia in research
The material in this chapter is based mainly on my experience of undertaking the work which resulted in the book Communication and consultation: Exploring ways for staff to involve people with dementia in developing services (Allan 2001). This study followed on from work started in Stirling by Malcolm Goldsmith, which culminated in his book Hearing the Voice of People with Dementia: Opportunities and Obstacles (1996). A description of the work I undertook is provided below. As well as arising from this experience, what I have said here is also based on my background as a clinical psychologist working with older adults. In this role I worked with staff in various kinds of service settings. Although this had a clinical rather than research emphasis, it nevertheless taught me a great deal about the possibilities and constraints within which one must operate.
The aim of the study I carried out between May 1998 and October 2000 was to explore the process of staff undertaking service user consultation with people with dementia. At this time old attitudes about dementia destroying the person's ability to communicate were giving way to more positive and realistic views, and the centrality of communication to good