PhD Students

Cate PembleCatherine Pemble (Work Programme 4) is a PhD student based at the University of Stirling (years of registration: 2015 – 2018). With an extensive background in working with vulnerable adults and an MSc in Psychological Research Methods Catherine’s interests lead her to examine the challenges that make it difficult for people to access their community, and identify potential solutions. Catherine is supervised by Dr Richard Ward and Prof Kirstein Rummery. Her PhD title is “Using digital technology to support the understanding and development of dementia friendly neighbourhoods”.

Catherine’s plans are to examine the small, additive factors which make it difficult for people with dementia to leave their home and access the community, using a mixed methods approach drawing on qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Specifically, drawing on interviews with people with dementia and their careers identifying specific problems that arise in leaving the house, cross referenced with observational data to highlight small ‘stumbling blocks’ which serve to make it hard for the person with dementia to leave the house with confidence and access the community. The study will also draw upon social network analysis data to highlight the ways in which people’s connections with the outside world change after a diagnosis of dementia.

Catherine has a passion for working with vulnerable populations and identifying ways in which academic knowledge can be applied to overcome practical barriers. She aims to complete her PhD in 2018, and continue in a research role where she can keep using her dual backgrounds in research and practical support to develop answers to significant daily problems faced by vulnerable people and those who support them.


KatieDavis_100x178Katie Davis (Work Programme 1) is a registered mental health nurse with a real passion for research and working with people living with dementia.  She was originally inspired to work with people living with dementia after an input from the Scottish Dementia Working Group as a student nurse and since then has worked in the NHS and with Alzheimer Scotland. After completing her MSc Advanced Nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University in 2014, she was awarded a studentship to start her PhD in Nursing at the University of Manchester as part of the Neighbourhoods and Dementia study (years of registration: 2015 – 2018, supervised by Professor John Keady, Dr Caroline Swarbrick & Dr Penny Bee ). The title of her PhD is: “Exploring the involvement of people living with dementia in research: A participatory study”

As part of Work Programme 1 ‘Member Involvement’, Katie hopes to work closely with the working groups taking part in the study and develop a group of co-researchers to evaluate the meaning of research to people living with dementia.

In the future, Katie hopes to continue to work closely with people living dementia and contribute to the growing body of research in this field.


Elzana Odzakovic (Work Programme 4) is a district nurse and a doctoral student at Linköping University. Her supervisors are Associate Professor Ingrid Hellström, Dr. Agneta Kullberg and Dr. Richard Ward. She is also a junior lecturer within the nursing and district-nursing programme. Elzana started working as a registered nurse in the summer of 2009 in neurological care at University hospital in Sweden. During 2013, she finished her training as a district nurse. Elzana was registered at Linköping University as a doctoral student in March 2015 and she is also involved in work programme 4 (Neighbourhoods: Our People, Our Places) within the research project. She had her half time seminar (Swedish half-time follow up with reviewers of the thesis so far) in October 2017. The overall purpose of the planned thesis is to explore and gain deeper knowledge of the lived everyday experiences of people living with dementia in their home and neighbourhood.

To gain an overview and knowledge of what type of home care services and housing are granted to people with a dementia diagnosis in Sweden, a cross-sectional study of all people in three Swedish county councils diagnosed with dementia from the medical records in 2012 was conducted. This cross-sectional study is published (Odzakovic, E., Hydén, L-C., Festin, K & Kullberg, A, 2018). The following study is about nurse’s professional practices in municipal home care in the meetings with older people living alone. Elzana is doing field-work at the time in the municipal home care with nurses. The third study is in manuscript and is about the meaning of the neighbourhood among people living with dementia: a phenomenological study. The fourth study is focused on identifying and describing experiences of social relationships in the neighbourhood among people living alone with dementia. To date, Elzana is also involved in a research project called “Dementia friendly neighbourhoods – the Norrköping model”.


Therése Bielsten_190x225

Therése Bielsten (Work Programme 6) is a specialist nurse in the care of older people and a PhD student at Linköping University. Her supervisors are Dr. Ingrid Hellström (lead of WP6), Professor John Keady and Dr. Agneta Kullberg. Therése is also teaching within the nursing programme at Linköping University. Her clinical experience is mainly from the care of older people and people with dementia who are living in special housing. Therése was registered as a doctoral student in April 2015 and had her ”Half-time seminar” (Swedish half-time follow up with reviewers of the thesis so far) in November 2017. The overall aim of her thesis is, as the aim of WP 6, to develop a resource-oriented self-management guide aimed at couples where one partner has a diagnosis of dementia. The guide will be delivered via the application DemPower® and tested in a feasibility trial in Sweden and in the UK. The application is almost complete and the recruitment of couples has started on both sites. Therése and Dr Reena Lasrado at the University of Manchester are working in parallel with the Swedish and the British version of the app and the feasibility trial.

To gain an overview of previous interventions aimed at couples with dementia, the research team have undertaken two linked literature reviews of couple-centred interventions entitled ”A review of couple-centred interventions in dementia: exploring the what and why – part A” (Bielsten & Hellström, 2017) and ”An extended review of couple-centred interventions in dementia: exploring the what and why – part B” (Bielsten & Hellström, 2017). The research team have submitted a qualitative study describing the development of the content for the DemPower application and a study protocol for the feasibility trial, both under review.