Outing SL researchers

Second Health by ICL A&EVery interesting meeting at Sussex uni this afternoon with academics and clinicians from Imperial College, Brighton uni, Sussex uni, Brighton & Sussex medical school and Sussex Partnership looking at using SL as a training platform for medical students. So many SL afficionados, so much other research going on, so few spring chickens doing it! Contrary to possible expectations, these SL researchers seemed to be the antithesis of the stereotypical young male gamer and came in at the older, female, rather sensible but highly creative end of the spectrum. Eat your heart out, WoW! Second Health by ICL HDU

Blogging as a research tool

Wondering about blogging as an adjunct to ethological research tracking. With more emphasis on qualitative, investigatory studies in which the researcher almost becomes a participant, this would seem to be a valuable way of keeping a process journal that adds to the depth of information available for interrogation. Is anyone doing this? I’m sure I’ve heard. Which means I’m not sure really! C’mon, if you know, share!

So why Newcastle?

For a few months now, I’ve been conversing by phone and email with Dr Sanjeet Pakrasi who is a consultant psychiatrist in Newcastle. Sanjeet has put together a care service for people with dementia that I would like to see researched for adults with learning disabilities as it seems to have potential not just for improving care delivery but also reducing costs. At its root is a touchscreen and broadband connection between client, family (optional), and a care hub which gives people live and spontaneous access to recognisable others who are able to provide help and support. Increasingly, it is also offering entertainment in the form of digital painting, jigsaws made from a person’s own pictures, and life story books. The beginnings of a client-driven social network is also emerging.

Despite the quite horrific journey, during which I seriously feared for my life more than once as roads disappeared behind a screen of filthy spray, this was well worth the trip. Sanjeet had brought together people from the Technology Strategy Board (Assisted Living Innovation Platform), Microsoft, Northumbria University, the Department of Health, and the Connect for Care user council to generate discussion about development and research.  My part in this would be evaluation of an extension of this service model to a different client group where the potential for better use of outreach time seems likely to improve considerably the service we can offer to vulnerable adults. In addition, people whose needs currently preclude independent living for safety reasons might, with this technology in place, find they are able to cope well with their additional needs. More discussions on my return, this time at Brighton university, and hopefully out of that, an application for research funding. Crossing fingers as of now!

On a more personal note, I was astonished to find that the hotel, The Falcon’s Nest (one of the Innkeeper’s Lodge chain), had no lift, despite being quite a new development. There is also no attendant so that anyone needing assistance, as I did with a hefty case that would have toppled me back down the stairs had I tried them alone, has to go back outside and over to the pub to find the staff. There is no warning about this when booking and the next day, as we made the return journey to retrieve my case from the first floor (which they called the second floor, oddly enough), I asked what would have happened had I arrived in a wheelchair. There are several disability access parking bays just outside and so the response that ‘We would have shuffled things around’ (to get me a ground floor room), seemed a little unprepared. Be warned!

The next hotel on my trip, the Blue Bell, necessitated by a detour to Yorkshire for family reasons, was quite different. Although this too seemed not to have a lift, there was a very obvious and constantly staffed reception with helpful people who did not need to be asked regarding luggage. I am not sure what would have happened had I appeared in a set of wheels though, as there did not seem to be any ground floor rooms. However, this is an old pub that has been thoroughly upgraded and the comfort of it rather distracted me from my minor crusade! Family visits seem likely to be more on the cards than previously and so I will be back, and I will be back to this hotel too because of its aesthetics, its comfort and its personal warmth. Anyone who can combine elegance with sociable homeliness gets my vote and for that reason I’m putting a link here in case you are planning on visiting east Yorkshire and would appreciate a recommendation.

Breakfast room, Blue Bell Hotel, Burton Agnes
large conservatory-style room for meals

 

Conservatory for meals, Blue Bell Hotel, Burton Agnes
friendly, clean, good prompt service

There is also a small brasserie for evening meals and a rather splendid bar which I was too tired to sample! TV and wifi in the rooms, bedside sockets for those with charging needs and separation anxiety should their iPhone get more than a couple of feet away from their grasp!

Burton Agnes is rural but much of the York and east coast area is accessible from there.

Our most excellent road network

Sussex to Newcastle – nine hours on foul, invisible roads with massive trucks and fogged up mirrors. Newcastle to Yorkshire – three hours, same performance. Yorkshire to Sussex – another nine hours, some of them in a blizzard and others idling away on the M25 in second gear. For entertainment, an unlit van stationary in lane 4 of several near Heathrow. Try pulling out round that when no one else can see it and they wouldn’t much care if they could!

Extended tweet!  More to say about this trip. Back when I can say it without spitting!

Ah, now what…

I was just about to post about an upcoming meeting with the innovator behind a telehealth service for people with dementia when I realised that Dem Tigerpaw will not be a part of this research if it comes off. She won’t have a lot to do with another project bubbling under either, involving digital cameras and positive psychology. There are more potential SL related projects in the pipeline so she’s hardly going to become redundant but should she be compartmentalised I wonder.  I’m for giving Dem the role of mediator or ‘front woman’  for all the tech-based research I would like to report on. Let’s hope she doesn’t want a pay rise!

Catching up

Got to see our incomplete participant today. Not that she was incomplete, you understand, her session was. It’s not easy to elicit memories of experiences people didn’t have and the eliciting part comes next week. Hopefully, she won’t feel driven to jump ship before we’ve finished that!