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Professor Claire Surr - Leeds Beckett. Leeds, West Yorkshire, GB

Professor Claire Surr

Professor | Leeds Beckett University

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UNITED KINGDOM

Her research addresses care and support for people living with dementia and those who care for them.





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Professor Claire Surr: Care is as important as cure in research on dementia The Centre for Dementia Research: Helping provide the best support for people living with dementia



Professor Claire Surr is Professor of Dementia Studies and Director of the Centre for Dementia Research at Leeds Beckett University. Her research addresses care and support for people living with dementia and those who care for them. She has a particular interest in designing and implementing interventions and approaches to improving formal dementia care services and care - with a focus on care homes and general hospitals. Her work explores care experiences and the support needs of people with both cancer and dementia and interventions to support care home staff to deliver high quality dementia care.

Claire is internationally recognised for her research and academic leadership around dementia education and training for the health and social care workforce, having led a national study examining the factors associated with effective training design, delivery and implementation. The findings are embedded within UK and international governmental and practice guidance on dementia education and training and are being implemented in the design and delivery of dementia training by health and social care providers globally. She is a member of the National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit (NIHR RfPB) Yorkshire and the Humber, NIHR Research for Social Care funding panel and a member of the Alzheimer’s Society funding panels.

Areas of Expertise (8)

General Hospitals

Social Care

Patient Support



Care Homes

Training in Dementia Care

Alzheimer’s Disease

Accomplishments (4)

Educate North and UK Leadership Awards – Research team of the Year (EPIC Trial)


Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


National Teaching Fellow


University of Bradford Research and Knowledge Transfer Awards, Business Innovation Category: Highly Commended


Education (3)

University of Bradford: PhD, Division of Dementia Studies 2004


University of Bradford: PG Dip, Division of Nursing 2008


University of Bradford: BA (Hons), Interdisciplinary Human Studies 1998


Affiliations (5)

  • National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit : Yorkshire and the North East Funding Panel Member
  • Alzheimer’s Funding Board
  • National Institute for Health Research, Research for Social Care Funding : Panel Member
  • Sporting Memories Foundation : Patron
  • Journal of Dementia Care : Advisory Board Member

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (10)

Caring Dementia Care in Care Homes

Dementia Research Charity Chatathon  online


Recorded at the Dementia Research Charity #Chatathon 2022 - Adam Smith interviews Professor Claire Surr, Professor of Dementia Studies at Leeds Beckett University and Dr Victoria Shepherd, Senior Research Fellow, Cardiff University.

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Leeds Beckett Research To Be Shared In Top Alzheimer Report

The Carer  online


Professor Claire Surr, from the Centre for Dementia Research, School of Health, led the team who carried out the research: “Having staff with the knowledge and skills to deliver good dementia care is a priority and research has shown that education and training can help staff feel more confident about dementia care and improve their knowledge and skills, which can lead to better care. Our research identifies the approaches to training design and delivery that lead to staff having the right knowledge, attitudes, and approaches to delivering dementia care and the best outcomes for people with dementia and their families.

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How can we best support those with dementia and cancer

Leeds Church Institute  online


Today’s podcast is taken from our recent event for people who live or work with those diagnosed with dementia. Professor Claire Surr presents the finding of a study that the Department of Dementia Studies at Leeds Met University recently completed looking at the support needs of people with dementia who also have cancer. This is an area that has been under-researched, despite the fact that there are a lot of people living with both conditions.

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Culture Change and Dementia Care: Why The Two Should be Intertwined

Elder  online


Claire Surr is Professor of Dementia Studies at Leeds Beckett University and set up the Leeds Beckett Dementia Centre. She has been involved in dementia research for over 20 years – focusing on the challenges of dementia workforce education and training to improve the quality of dementia care. We talked to her about the importance of tailored training and culture change for effective dementia care and how to make sure a workplace is truly inclusive to those with cognitive impairments.

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Dilemma of Dementia

Asian Lite International  online


Of the many health challenges we face, dementia is a rapidly growing area of concern for the person affected, their family and the NHS too. The Centre for Dementia Research at Leeds Beckett University established in 2017 and ably led by Professor Claire Surr includes a team of members from a wide range of subject areas including health, psychology, the arts and media, education, computing and sport.

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Shifting the Culture of Care

Dementia Connections Blog  online


While attending the University of Bradford in the UK, Claire Surr studied under Dr. Tom Kitwood, who pioneered the concept of person-centred dementia care. Now a researcher who has specialized in dementia care for her entire career and currently working out of Leeds Beckett University, Surr focuses on high-quality education of the dementia care workforce so that they can best deliver individualized person-centred care to people with dementia.

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International Audience for Leeds Beckett Dementia Research

Psychreg  online


Speaking about the study, Professor Surr said: ‘Until recently there was no mandatory requirement for health and social care professionals (e.g,. nurses) to have any dementia specific training, despite the high prevalence of people with dementia using health and social care services – 1 in 4 patients on general hospital wards have dementia.

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Study will examine experience of people who have dementia and cancer

Nursing Standard  online


A leading dementia researcher has received a 155,000 grant to examine ways to improve cancer treatment and care for people who have both cancer and dementia. Leeds Beckett University professor of dementia studies Claire Surr will lead a team of researchers to profile the size and demographics of the population of people with cancer and dementia from a large dataset of GP records.

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Study into dementia and cancer care

Yorkshire Evening Post  print


The Leeds Beckett team is led by Claire Surr, the university’s Professor of Dementia Studies. Prof Surr said: “Cancer and dementia are conditions that affect many older people, and the little research we have suggests many may have both conditions, however we don’t currently have any accurate figures on the size of the population or their experiences.”

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Tool launched to reduce ‘variability’ in dementia training quality

Nursing Times  online


The research team was led by Professor Claire Surr, from Leeds Beckett, with colleagues from the University of Bradford and the University of Leeds. Professor Surr said: “There has been a strong agenda around making sure we have an informed and effective dementia care workforce for a number of years and a huge drive, therefore, to increase staff training in that area.

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Articles (15)

Understanding the experiences and psychosocial support needs of caregivers of people with comorbid dementia and cancer

Psychology and Health

2022 Family carers of people living with comorbid dementia and cancer (CDC) play a vital supportive role, but this may be particularly burdensome and adversely impact their own health and wellbeing.

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Cancer care for people with dementia: Literature overview and recommendations for practice and research

CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

2022 As many countries experience population aging, patients with cancer are becoming older and have more preexisting comorbidities, which include prevalent, age-related, chronic conditions such as dementia. People living with dementia (PLWD) are vulnerable to health disparities, and dementia has high potential to complicate and adversely affect care and outcomes across the cancer trajectory.

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Characteristics and general practice resource use of people with comorbid cancer and dementia in England: a retrospective cross-sectional study

BMC Primary Care

2022 Cancer and dementia are common in older people and management of the conditions as comorbidities can be challenging, yet little is known about the size or characteristics of this group. We aimed to estimate the prevalence, characteristics and general practice resource usage of people living with both conditions in England.

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Factors influencing symptom appraisal and help-seeking of older adults with possible cancer: a mixed-methods systematic review

British Journal of General Practice

2022 The cancer burden falls predominantly on older (≥65 years) adults. Prompt presentation to primary care with cancer symptoms could result in earlier diagnosis. However, patient symptom appraisal and help-seeking decisions involving cancer symptoms are complex and may be further complicated in older adults.

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Factors affecting the decision to investigate older adults with potential cancer symptoms: a systematic review

British Journal of General Practice

2022 Older age and frailty increase the risk of morbidity and mortality from cancer surgery and intolerance of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The effect of old age on diagnostic intervals is unknown; however, older adults need a balanced approach to the diagnosis and management of cancer symptoms, considering the benefits of early diagnosis, patient preferences, and the likely prognosis of a cancer.

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Drawn from life: Cocreating narrative and graphic vignettes of lived experience with people affected by dementia

Health Expectations

2021 The growing literature on Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) and dementia identifies specific problems related to the influence that involvement has on research outcomes, over-reliance on family members as proxies and lack of representation of seldom-heard groups. Adaptations to the PPIE process are therefore needed to make possible the involvement of a broader spectrum of people living with dementia.

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Understanding and identifying ways to improve hospital-based cancer care and treatment for people with dementia: an ethnographic study

Age and Aging

2020 Providing cancer care and treatment for ageing populations with complicating comorbidities like dementia is a growing global challenge. This study aimed to examine the hospital-based cancer care and treatment challenges and support needs of people with dementia, and identify potential ways to address these.

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Barriers and Facilitators to implementing dementia training in health and social care services

BMC Health Services Research

2020 The health and social care workforce requires access to appropriate education and training to provide quality care for people with dementia. Success of a training programme depends on staff ability to put their learning into practice through behaviour change. This study aimed to investigate the barriers and facilitators to implementation of dementia education and training in health and social care services using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and COM-B model of behaviour change.

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Effectiveness of Dementia Care MappingTM to reduce agitation in care home residents with dementia: an open-cohort cluster randomised controlled trial

Aging & Mental Health

2020 Agitation is common and problematic in care home residents with dementia. This study investigated the (cost)effectiveness of Dementia Care Mapping™ (DCM) for reducing agitation in this population.

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A biopsychosocial interpretation of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Nursing Home (NH): reconceptualising psychiatric symptom attributions

BJPsych Open

2020 The Neuropsychiatric Inventory is predicated on the assumption that psychiatric symptoms are manifestations of disease. Biopsychosocial theories suggest behavioural changes viewed as psychiatric may also arise as a result of external behavioural triggers.

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Navigating cancer treatment and care when living with comorbid dementia: an ethnographic study

Supportive Care in Cancer

2020 The risks of developing cancer and dementia increase as we age; however, this comorbidity remains relatively under-researched. This study reports on the challenges that people affected by comorbid cancer and dementia face when navigating engagement with cancer treatment within secondary care.

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Acceptability and feasibility study of a six-week person-centred, therapeutic visual art intervention for people with dementia

Arts & Health

2020 There has been increasing interest in dementia, the arts and creativity across different disciplines in recent years, with previous literature illustrating the benefits of visual arts for people with dementia.

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Components of impactful dementia training for general hospital staff: a collective case study

Aging and Mental Health

2018 People with dementia occupy around one quarter of general hospital beds, with concerns consistently raised about care quality. Improving workforce knowledge, skills and attitudes is a mechanism for addressing this. However little is known about effective ways of training healthcare staff about dementia. This study aimed to understand models of dementia training most likely to lead to improved practice and better care experiences for people with dementia, and to understand barriers and facilitators to implementation.

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The influence of care home managers on the implementation of a complex intervention: findings from the process evaluation of a randomised controlled trial of dementia care mapping

BMC Geriatrics

2020 Many people with dementia live in care homes, where staff can struggle to meet their complex needs. Successful practice improvement interventions in these settings require strong managerial support, but little is known about how managers can support implementation in practice, or what factors support or hinder care home managers in providing this support.

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Effective dementia education and training for the health and social care workforce: A systematic review of the literature

Review of Educational Research

2017 Ensuring an informed and effective dementia workforce is of international concern; however, there remains limited understanding of how this can be achieved. This review aimed to identify features of effective dementia educational programs. Critical interpretive synthesis underpinned by Kirkpatrick’s return on investment model was applied. One hundred and fifty-two papers of variable quality were included.

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