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This paper aims to share how the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research co-designs research within a national programme of work to improve the lives of older adults and those affected by dementia. Through examples of this work, the authors identify the barriers and enablers to participatory approaches and lessons to inform future involvement activities.

This study reflects on implementing the UK National Standards for Public Involvement into practice. Of international relevance, the observations span the research process from research prioritisation and design to research implementation and knowledge exchange.

This study demonstrates the importance of using a relational approach, working toward a common purpose and engaging in meaningful dialogue. Only through offering choice and flexibility and actively learning from one another can co-design lead to synergistic relationships that benefit everyone.

Research limitations/implications
Key implications for researchers engaged in patient and public involvement are be receptive to other people’s views and acknowledge expertise of those with lived experience alongside those with academic expertise. Training, resources and time are required to effectively support involvement and meaningful relationships. A nominated contact person enables trust and mutual understanding to develop. This is an ongoing collective learning experience that should be embedded throughout the entire research process.

This paper demonstrates how the standards are implemented with people who are often excluded from research to influence a national programme of work.


  • dementia, carers, Public involvement, Research, older adults
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuality in Ageing and Older Adults
Early online date26 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Dec 2023

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