Diane has taken a leading role in developing a successful social care research programme and has an excellent record of accomplishment, attracting research grants totalling over £11 million. Diane has led a successful carer research programme and has an established reputation for completing policy relevant research that has impact. She has led reviews of national policy implementation, including evaluations of the National Carers Strategies in England for the Department of Health and in Wales for the Welsh Government. Diane is a member of the Welsh Government Ministerial Advisory Group on Carers. She has previously acted as a Specialist Advisor on Domiciliary Care to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, House of Commons.
Diane contributes to the development and delivery of the Welsh Government’s Research Infrastructure Support System. As Co-Investigator and Social Care Research Lead for the Wales Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research, she leads initiatives to better integrate research, policy and practice. She is an Advisory Group Member, Wales School for Social Care Research, advising on the strategic direction of the School, and member of the School’s PhD Fellowship Committee. Diane is Deputy Chair for the Welsh Government’s Social Care Research Grants and Fellowship Committees. She has been actively involved in developing opportunities for social care managers and practitioners to undertake applied social care research and recruiting doctoral students to Wales.
Diane is taking forward several research development initiatives including:
- Social Care Innovations Lab (#SCIL)
- UK Meaningful Short Breaks Research and Practice Development Group
Social Care Innovations Lab (#SCIL)
Recognising the importance of public and professional involvement in social care research, #SCIL is an initiative hosted by the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research that is designed to support creative approaches to research development and knowledge exchange. #SCIL is underpinned by three key principles that are essential to generating robust research evidence that informs the realisation of policy and practice objectives – involving, innovating and improving. Acting as a connecting hub, #SCIL also facilitates knowledge exchange between people, enabling them to share ideas and evidence that contributes towards the achievement of well-being outcomes, continual professional development and quality improvement of services
Meaningful short breaks for carers and people with complex care needs
Building on an established carer research programme at Bangor, the meaningful short breaks research stream is addressing an area of international concern as policy makers and practitioners seek to develop flexible approaches to service provision that support positive, sustainable caring relationships. Having mapped the evidence base for short breaks for carers for older people (https://www.sharedcarescotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/05615-Shared-Care-Scotland-research-report.pdf), current research projects include Co-creating, Commissioning and Delivering Meaningful Short Breaks – integrating research, policy and practice funded by the Welsh Government. Diane has played a key role in establishing a UK-wide Short Breaks Research and Practice Development Group that is shaping a future research agenda and supporting capacity building and research excellence in an under-researched area. The Group acts as the UK link for the International Break Exchange Network.
Diane is involved in several social care projects addressing how to improve the quality of care and services. These projects address some of the key principles underpinning the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, including multiagency working, voice and control and prevention and early intervention:
- Multi-agency working – The application of systems thinking approaches to support the development of integrated care services for adults with complex care needs involves a systematic review of the evidence base and collaborative working with a local authority to develop be-spoke recommendations for their organisation.
- Multi-agency working - Rewriting Scripts: Promoting multi-disciplinary teams for users of methadone prescription programmes involves a policy evaluation and interviews with key stakeholders.
- Prevention and early intervention – Night Owls: exploring unscheduled care at night involves a scoping review, theanalysis of routinely collected data on an innovative service (providing unscheduled support during the night-time to relieve pressure on the 999 service) and interviews with older people. Outputs include be-spoke satisfaction and outcomes tools.
- Voice and control – Everyday lives: exploring the experiences of people with a learning disability in the early stages of the new Social Services and Wellbeing Act (2014) Wales involves a systematic review and narrative interviews with people living with a learning disability and their families as well as key professionals in the statutory and independent sectors.
I welcome the opportunity to supervise PhD work that addresses social care issues as they relate to older people, including those living with dementia, their un-paid carers and those employed in the social care sector. I particularly welcome qualitative or mixed-methods studies about:
- Assessment and support planning for people with complex care needs and their un-paid carers
- Meaningful short breaks (sometimes called respite care) that support positive, sustainable caring relationships
- Experiences and support needs of un-paid carers in employment or in higher education
- Ways to help individuals achieve personal well-being outcomes, with a focus on:
- Voice and control
- Prevention and early intervention
- Co-production of services
- Integrated, multi-agency working
- Nursing and residential care home provision