Leeds cancer and dementia carers urged to take part in study to shape future service

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Carers in Leeds who have supported people with cancer and dementia are being urged to share their experiences to help shape a future service in the city.

Leeds Beckett University researcher Mollie Price is searching for volunteers to talk about the challenges and experiences an unpaid carer faces as part of a new academic study.

The study, which aims to uncover the needs of carers helping people suffering from both illnesses at the same time, will also lead to the launch of a support programme to be created by the Carers Leeds support organisation.

Miss Price, an award-winning Psychology PhD student at the university, said: “By 2020, almost 50 per cent of the UK population will develop cancer in their lifetime and, by 2025, there will be more than one million people in the UK with dementia.

“While previous studies have explored the experiences of carers of adults with more than one chronic condition, none have focused on carers of people with both cancer and dementia.”

The 23-year-old's research comes as the YEP has made combating mental health stigma a key priority for our #SpeakYourMind campaign, which launched last October and has been backed by Prime Minister Theresa May.

As part of the university study, volunteers will be asked to have one-to-one interviews, lasting between 60 to 90 minutes.

Volunteers will talk about their own experiences as a carer, the challenges they face and the support they feel that they need.

Miss Price, who lives in Leeds, added: "The findings from the interviews will inform the next stage of my study, which will be the development and testing of a support programme or approach to be delivered by Carers Leeds to help address carers’ support needs.

"I don’t yet know what this support will look like because it will be based on what carers tell me they need, but examples of carer support for other conditions include education, coping skills training, social support groups, improving communication between carer and care-recipient, and help with problem solving.

"I hope the support programme or approach will help to improve carer health and wellbeing and improve outcomes and quality of life for the person they care for."

Earlier this year Miss Price won the prize for the best three-minute-thesis oral presentation on her doctoral research at the British Psychosocial Oncology Society's annual conference at the University of Oxford.

For volunteers taking part in the study, refreshments will be provided and any expenses and carer replacement costs will be covered.

Carers who are interested in taking part must be currently providing unpaid care to someone with both cancer and dementia, or have done so in the last five years.

Volunteers must also be over 18 and speak fluent English.

For more information, or to take part, contact Mollie Price on 0113 812 8969, email m.price@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or call Carers Leeds on 0113 246 8338.