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.


Rebecca TalbotRebecca Talbot (Work Programme 5) is a first year PhD student working with the Neighbourhoods and Dementia research team at the University of Manchester.  She worked as a carer for several years, predominantly in long term dementia nursing and residential care. Her research interests include formal carer experiences of the dementia care role and how people living with dementia define themselves as place makers within neighbourhood, community and care environments.

The title of her study is “Constructing and creating a sense of place for people with dementia in acute care settings: a sensory ethnography”. She is planning to study how people who are living with dementia define themselves as place makers in acute care hospital settings. The aim of her study is to examine how people make sense of the care environment through a range of qualitative techniques, such as walking interviews, observation of hospital wards, and visual data collection from photographs.

She is registered on her PhD from September 2015 until September 2018 & her PhD supervisors are Professor John Keady, Dr Siobhan Reilly and Dr Caroline Swarbrick.

She aims to continue researching the experience of living with dementia after her PhD studies, and also complete her training to become a registered health psychologist. She also hopes to continue to work closely with the Dementia Action Alliance and Alzheimer’s Society to make her local community dementia friendly.

Elzana Odzakovic (Work Programme 4) is a district nurse and a doctoral student at Linköping University. Her supervisors are Dr Ingrid Hellström, Professor Lars-Christer Hydén and Dr. Agneta Kullberg. 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.

The overall purpose of the planned thesis is to describe the distribution of home care services for people living with dementia in a Swedish context and how people with dementia living in ordinary housing experience and use their neighbourhoods in their daily life.

From register data Elzana and her co-authors have collected register data among people with dementia living in three different county councils in Sweden during 2012. The results of this study shows that the majority were living in single household (52%) and in ordinary housing; the most common home care services granted were home help and personal care (41%). In larger municipalities, people with dementia were granted more home care services in general. The article is currently under revision. The second article is in draft and is about the lived experience of the neighbourhood among people living with dementia through walking interviews; phenomenological study. The two other studies will be focused on people living with dementia in a single household and their neighbourhood.

Future plans are to continue with research in dementia and neighbourhoods. The ambition is to improve dementia friendly neighbourhoods in Sweden with people living with dementia and caregivers. 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 PhD student at Linköping University. Her supervisors are Dr. Ingrid Hellström (lead of WP6), Professor John Keady and Dr. Agneta Kullberg. She 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.

The overall aim of her thesis is to develop a couple-management guide together with and for couples living with dementia. The couple-management guide is intended to support communication, relationships and everyday life within couples living with dementia.

To gain an overview of previous interventions aimed at couples with dementia, Therése conducted a scoping review (Bielston & Hellström, 2017 – under review) which indicated the lack of relationship focused, salutogenic and resource oriented approaches of couple-centred interventions. The findings of the review informed the “focus on what we can do” approach of the couple-management guide. The guide will be delivered via an application and tested in a feasibility trial in Sweden and in the UK. Currently, the content of the guide and the layout of the application are under completion. An article describing progress of WP6, including a description of the qualitative research that informed the topics of the couple-management guide is soon to be submitted. Therése and Dr Reena Lasrado at the University of Manchester are working together to integrate the Swedish and British context into the couple-management guide.