CRIPACC Current research highlights

The impact of coronavirus on food and eating in the East of England

Professor Wendy Wills, NIHR ARC Prevention and Early Detection Theme Lead, is leading research with Public Health England regarding the health, wellbeing and care needs of those aged 70+ in the community and the systems that can support those needs.  Food access and nutrition is an additional focus for research with the ARC EoE populations in focus because of the awareness that certain groups, including children eligible for free school meals and populations isolated through current ‘shielding’ requirements, are likely to struggle to eat an adequate diet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers from across the East of England, want to find out how coronavirus and the associated restrictions are affecting how people do everyday activities relating to food, such as shopping, cooking, and eating. They are also interested in how people feel about these changes.  The impact of coronavirus on food and eating in the East of England

The READY Trial (randomised trial of energetic activity for depression in young people)

A research team led by the University of Hertfordshire has won a £2.27m contract from the NIHR to investigate if exercise is a beneficial treatment for mild to moderate depression in young people aged 13-17.

The multi-disciplinary research trial will include health, psychology and exercise researchers and practitioners from the School of Life and Medical Sciences and the School of Health and Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire, Norwich Clinical Trials Unit, University of East Anglia, The Centre for Health, Wellbeing and Behaviour Change at the University of Bedfordshire, two Mental Health Trusts in Hertfordshire and Norfolk & Suffolk and the local community sports provider organisations.

The READY Trial (randomised trial of energetic activity for depression in young people) will commence with an initial trial with young people in the East of England region, which will be followed by a nationwide research study involving more than 1,000 young people starting in 2021.

The study will compare the benefit of exercise for young people living with depression participating in either a high intensity, or low intensity group exercise sessions, with spending time with a group of their peers.

Co-lead researcher Dr Daksha Trivedi, Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, added: “We will be working closely with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and GPs to sensitively work with families and health providers to research and potentially find effective use of behavioural medicine and exercise to treat depression”

Co-lead researcher Dr David Wellsted, Centre for Health Services and Clinical Research, University of Hertfordshire, commented: “There is a gap in support and care for this particular age group. In 2018 in Hertfordshire alone over 1000 young people were referred for mental health support. Our study will explore if participation in group exercise is an effective intervention for depression, which could help communities provide support for young people experiencing these issues, as well as relieving pressure on NHS services.”

Principal Research Clinical Psychologist for the Children, Family and Young People’s Mental Health Service, Dr Tim Clarke from Norfolk commented: “This is a great opportunity to explore an intervention that expands traditional offers of support for young people with low mood and could potentially improve provision and increase access to evidence based interventions. The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are excited to be working with the University of Hertfordshire on this trial and working with local young people to test this intervention”.

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs)

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) are funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to support applied health and care research that responds to the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.  The NIHR East of England (EoE) is one of 15 ARCs across England.  The ARC EoE has seven research themes. The University of Hertfordshire is leading on the following three Research Themes:

Ageing and multi-morbidity: Professor Claire Goodman

Prevention and early detection in health and social care: Professor Wendy Wills

Inclusive involvement in research for practice led health and social care: Dr Elspeth Mathie (UH) and Professor Fiona Poland (UEA)

Developing research resources, And minimum data set for Care Home's Adoption and use (#DACHA_study)

The University of Hertfordshire is leading a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded four-year DACHA study to improve how researchers, health and social care services can use existing data to improve the care and quality of life for care home residents, families and staff.

Over £2.2 million has been awarded for the study - Developing research resources and minimum data set for care homes' adoption and use – which will address the need to develop robust systems that support how all the different services and individuals (e.g. care staff, NHS professionals, family, regulators, social services) work together for residents’ benefit.

The study will review how current health and social care systems work, what “good” looks like, explore the evidence on how to integrate data and test what a minimum dataset would need to be the key resource for all those working in and for care homes. The findings have the potential to deliver a step-change in how we understand the needs of the care home population. This could be a resource that supports the provision of high quality care across the country.

The study is a joint collaboration between Claire Goodman, Professor of Health Care Research, NIHR Senior Investigator at the University of Hertfordshire and Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society’s, which is partnering with NIHR on the project.  The study will tackle a major unmet need and provide a greater understanding of how the care system as a whole can ensure people with dementia in care homes receive the best quality care

The study, which is due to start in November 2019, will bring together 12* other institutions working collaboratively to develop reciprocal systems of working between the NHS and care homes that optimise current provision and research on its effectiveness.

DEMCOM: National Evaluation of Dementia Friendly Communities

A Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) can involve a wide range of people, organisations and geographical areas. A DFC recognises that it has a role to play in supporting the independence of people diagnosed with dementia and their caregivers. There are approximately 193 communities across England that are formally recognised as working towards being dementia friendly.

National Evaluation of Dementia Friendly Communities (DEMCOM) is a project funded by Department of Health Policy Research Programme to undertake a national evaluation of Dementia Friendly Communities. The aim is to understand how different types of DFCs work, what is needed to sustain them and how they help different groups of people living with dementia and carers to live well.

A mixed method study it includes a literature review, linking population data on dementia prevalence with DFC activities and case studies of DFCs. The latter will pilot and test an adapted evaluation tool that is currently being used to evaluate age friendly cities. People living with and affected by dementia are involved in all stages of the study.

This is a collaboration between three universities who are all part of the Collaboration for Leaderships in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) East of England: University of Hertfordshire, University of East Anglia and University of Cambridge

Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study

For over 30 years the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study, has been a pioneer cross-national study gaining insight into young people's well-being, health behaviours and their social context. This research collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe involves 48 countries and regions across Europe and North America.

HBSC collects data every four years on 11, 13 and 15-year-old boys' and girls' health and well-being, social environments and health behaviours. These years mark a period of increased autonomy that can influence how their health and health-related behaviours develop.

The international standard questionnaire produced for every survey cycle enables the collection of common data across all participating countries and thus enables the quantification of patterns of key health behaviours, health indicators and contextual variables. These data allow cross-national comparisons to be made and, with successive surveys, trend data is gathered and may be examined at both the national and cross-national level. The international network is organised around an interlinked series of focus and topic groups related to the following areas.

Hertfordshire Public Health Connect

Hertfordshire Public Health Connect is a partnership between the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council Public Health Department. Hertfordshire Public Health Connect aims to bring together information about excellent public health research, practice and education for all professionals and students involved in Public Health in Hertfordshire and the East of England.

Buying Food and Drink Beyond the School Gate

Buying Food and Drink Beyond the School Gate was a study which was carried out to find out two things about young people aged 13 – 15 years. Firstly, what food and drink was purchased outside of the school during lunchtime. Secondly, what reasons young people had for making those purchases. We also looked at whether surroundings around schools and the type of shops and fast food places available were important.

Food Provision in Later Life: A study about people's experiences of getting food in the UK

Food Provision in Later Life: A study about people's experiences of getting food in the UK was research aimed to show how older people from different household types acquired food, what food they bought and the people and places they acquired it from.