Aims and Methods
What we propose
We propose a mixed methods evaluation of the proposed walking groups organised for older people living with dementia in the Willows Care Home in Great Linford to further understand the factors that may hinder or facilitate the uptake of and continuous engagement with the outdoor walking groups’ activities.
- To explore barriers and facilitators to continuous engagement with the fortnightly walking groups via short, semi-structured interviews with older people with dementia and their carers taking part in these walks.
- To evaluate the social and mental wellbeing in relation to the outdoor walking group activity.
- To assess number of steps and average distances covered during these walks.
- To understand challenges and limitations of setting up a regular outdoor walking groups in the context of Willows Care Home in Great Linford in collaboration with the The Parks Trust MK.
The overall aim of this research is to improve the health of older people with dementia and their carers, to identify and explore the barriers and facilitators to continuous engagement with the Parks Trust walking groups to support the Parks Trust and their agenda for Commissioning, Learning and Participation. We also aim to make evidence-based recommendations for timely interventions.
We will conduct a series of semi-structured interviews and non-participant observations of the events
- Semi Structured Interviews (once yearly) to be carried out with:
- Carers (N=4-6); Topics to include: e.g. how easy or difficult are these walks to attend, did they notice any changes in the person they care for etc.
- Organisers of these walks, managers, CH staff (one person from the side of the organisers, one care home manager and one of the care home staff N=3); Topics to include: interview about procedural issues and perspective from the organisers about their intentions, ongoing intentions, and challenges, how long did it take to set it up etc. how does it affect the care home routines etc., perspectives for service delivery perspective, organisation of walks the intended aims at the beginning and then every year to capture how the intended aim does or does not change;
- Residents with dementia (N=4-6); Topics to include: show them photos from some events and ask how they enjoyed it? Why are they talking part and if they think of not going to the event why is that – explore further barriers and facilitators to adherence.
At each walk that we attend (we can commit to attend one walk per month) we would conduct observations and take notes on engagement of the residents with the outdoors. The proposed research links with our systematic review that is currently in progress on barriers and facilitators to adherence to physical activity for people living with dementia in residential care
Learning and Participation Research can be a major vehicle for, and in support of, change, improvement and also achievement of objectives. Our approach focuses less on research evaluation and more on concentrating energy and resources to supporting the development, operations and implementation targets of the programme.
- This research will produce an evidence base for the effectiveness of walking groups on several behavioural, emotional and physical outcomes in people with dementia.
- This research will add to the current understanding about the effectiveness of outdoor walking groups in improving the physical, social and mental wellbeing of people living with dementia.
- This research will create a framework of knowledge around the factors that may hinder or facilitate the uptake of and continuous engagement with the walking groups’ activities as well as their impact on residents’ health and wellbeing related outcomes.
- This research will produce a report/guidance that sets out the benefits, challenges and limitations of regular outdoor walking groups in the context of Willows Care Home in Great Linford in collaboration with The Parks Trust MK and The Open University.