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Learning about carer errors and resilience strategies (CARE-ERRS): Equipment usability in using home enteral nutrition for older people

  • Lead Applicant: Orlu Gul (School of Pharmacy)
  • Main Collaborator: Dominc Furniss (Psychology & Language Sciences)
  • Additional Collaborators: Prof Felicity Smith (UCL School of Pharmacy) and Prof Ann Blandford (UCL Computer Science)

Nutrition and medication support for older people is critical for human wellbeing in later life. Enteral feeding can be used when patients are unable to eat or swallow medication, i.e. fluids can be given via tubing down the nose, or into a ‘peg’ in the abdominal area, directly into the stomach. However there are many practical issues associated with home enteral feeding that may affect patient safety including: accidental or intentional tube dislodgement, pump inaccuracy, frequent blockages of tubes, storage of feed, medication and equipment in an inappropriate environment and night-time carer sleep disturbance. As far as we are aware carers’ experiences of home enteral feeding for older people has not been researched.

The proposed small grant project will consist of four consecutive activities that empower the carers voice in the design, conduct and dissemination of findings. Activity 1 will be a focus group with carers to get their input into the design of a national survey. This survey will form Activity 2 that aims to assess the safety and usability aspects of carers’ enteral feeding technique when home enteral tube is used for feeding and administering medicine to older people. It will be followed by Activity 3, `public engagement workshop` to consolidate findings of the conducted survey and collect carers` views on what is important to their community. Besides carers, representatives of EMA, Geriatric Medicine Society, relevant charities (Age UK and others) and pharmaceutical companies will be invited to the proposed workshop. It will provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss various research activities, concepts and ideas at a national and European level. Activity 4 will be the dissemination of our findings internally and externally. Internally, we will hold a meeting entitled `Creating Connections` between the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC) and the new division of UCL, School of Pharmacy. We will present our findings, the lessons learnt from this cross-disciplinary venture, and hold activities to encourage the sort of serendipitous encounters between researchers of different disciplines that Dr Orlu Gul and Dr Furniss have benefited from. Externally, Dr Orlu Gul and Dr Furniss will present findings in a clinical focussed conference and in a technology themed meeting, respectively.

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