A translational case study of empowerment in practice: an evaluation of the Dementia NI Service

This research project will evaluate the Dementia NI Service. Dementia NI was set up by five people with dementia in 2015 to provide an independent voice for people with dementia. Aims include people with dementia actively raising awareness, challenging the stigma of having a diagnosis and influencing decisions about dementia care, policy and services in Northern Ireland.

The evaluation will explore the impact of involvement with Dementia NI at individual, dementia community and society levels. This will include looking at what empowerment means to people living with dementia and how this can be enabled through the organisation.

A realist methodology will be used to help understand what works well about the organisation’s programmes, for who and in which situations. This will involve development of programme theory through review of the service’s theories of empowerment; interviews with members and staff in Dementia NI; observations of empowerment groups and other member activities; and document review in order to profile contacts, pathways, networks and their involvement. Members will be involved in the

interpretation and analysis of this data to help refine the programme theory of the service. The review will further aim to build capacity of Dementia NI to recognise and measure the impact of their services.

The 16 month project, started in February 2017, will be coproduced by Dementia NI, Queens University Belfast and Ulster University.