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by | Monday, June 18th, 2018

Research & Development Team


Our Research and Development Team supports clinical research at Livewell Southwest. Clinical research enables healthcare to develop and test new treatments to ensure we are delivering the best quality care to people who use our services.  It is our aim at Livewell Southwest to develop as a research active organisation so that we will be able to offer the opportunity to participate in research to all. The studies carried out at Livewell Southwest may look at the following:

  • Trialling new medications
  • Seeking to improve the way we deliver services
  • Changing the way people take medications
  • Introducing new services

Currently we are carrying out studies in the following areas:

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Speech difficulties following stroke
  • Dementia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Peri-natal Mental Health
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Timing for blood pressure medication
  • Autism and Learning Disabilities

Driving with dementia

Researchers would like to know your experience of driving with a diagnosis of dementia. 
You can take part by completing a questionnaire online, why not click on this link to find out more.

Latest Research News



The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) recently published an article on the Big CACTUS study which considered how computerised speech and language therapy can help people with aphasia find words following a stroke. This study aimed to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of self-managed computer speech and language therapy used in addition to usual care.

Rena Truscott, Senior Research Practitioner, said: “The Big CACTUS study was run at Livewell Southwest by Amanda Harris and her Speech and Language therapy team, and the results of the study are now informing practice in the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists resource manual for commissioning and planning aphasia services.

“I’d like to thank Amanda and her team for their valued contribution to research which will directly benefit our patients.”

You can view the NIHR article by clicking here.

NIHR (National Institute of Health Research) Dissemination Centre

Staffing on Wards (March 2019) brings together recent NIHR-funded research looking at the evidence around how many staff are needed on wards and how managing them is key to the safety and efficiency of hospitals. It features:

  • Over 20 published studies
  • Issues to consider when deciding the shape of the ward team


Click here to view the Themed Review

We see health systems around the world struggling with increasing demand and challenges in workforce supply. Patient safety has moved to the centre of policy and operational decision making and that means significant attention is being paid to safe nurse staffing. There are some striking core findings from across the evidence that all countries should consider, in particular the importance of nurse leadership

Howard Catton

Chief Executive, International Council of Nurses



Telerehab Toolkit

Researchers from the Faculty of Health at the University of Plymouth together with collaborators from NHS Trusts in Devon and Cornwall have been working on developing an online toolkit of resources – ‘The Telerehab Toolkit’.

The toolkit is designed to support health and social care practitioners in remote assessment and management of people with movement impairment and physical disability, including people recovering from COVID-19. This project has been funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council.

The content of the toolkit is based on interviews and discussions with more than 100 practitioners, patients and their family members, as well as a survey of 247 UK practitioners and a review of the latest evidence.  It contains sections for practitioners and for patients, with information and guidance on online and telephone appointments as well as links to other useful resources.

The toolkit resource is publicly and freely accessible here.

The patients’ section can be accessed via the homepage or directly here.


Mental health research benefitting patient, families and staff at Plym Bridge House

The University of Exeter’s Hannah Sherbersky recently undertook research at Plym Bridge House as part of her doctorate in clinical practice. Hannah is the Programme Lead at the University for CAMHS Inpatient Training, Systemic Supervision, and Family Intervention for Psychosis, as well as Academic Lead for the Systemic Family Practice Children & Young People IAPT programme.

Hannah’s research at Livewell involved interviewing staff, young people and families at Plym Bridge House to understand their individual notions of home. She is now developing and implementing clinical recommendations from this research into the inpatient training that she currently runs at the University of Exeter, with Health Education England also interested in her findings.

You can read the abstract about this research below which has been kindly provided by Hannah – this is due to be published soon in the Journal of Family Therapy.


“Notions of home are deeply rooted in our sense of self. This qualitative research explores how young people, their families and the staff on a psychiatric adolescent inpatient unit construct meaning around the notion of home.

Given that admissions can range between a few days to many months, understanding what young people, families and staff actually understand the unit to be; home, hospital or something else, will have significant clinical implications. The research elucidates how these groups talk about home generally, and the adolescent inpatient unit specifically as ‘home’ and a secure base.

As a researcher and systemic family psychotherapist, I conducted eleven focus groups with staff, young people and families on a general adolescent inpatient unit. Two autoethnographic interviews were also conducted and the data were then all scrutinised using a discourse analysis, drawing on both systemic theory and attachment theory.

This research suggests that discourses around role confusion, safety and the embodiment of home, attachment relationships and the contradictory positions of home or hospital were evident for all participants and have been hitherto undertheorised in this context. Inherent contradictions between focus groups were highlighted; for the young people the unit is where they live, for the staff, it is ‘work’ and for the parents, it is where their young people go away from home.

The research concludes that theories such as the reciprocal nature of attachment relationships, iatrogenic injury, the therapeutic milieu and attachment ruptures between young people and parents have a profound impact on an inpatient admission and are often unspoken and underoperationalised. Clinical recommendations are made about managing the dilemmas associated with the unit becoming a home, and the subsequent training needs of inpatient staff.”


PenARC Newsletter

Click here for October 2020


Interim results for adult autism study

This project is about engaging adults on the autism spectrum and their relatives in research.

At least 1% of adults are on the autism spectrum. However, very little research has been undertaken into the life experiences of adults and older people on the autism spectrum, and how these can be improved.

To address this significant research gap, in January 2015, Adult Autism Spectrum began a research programme about the life experiences of adults on the autism spectrum and their relatives/carers. This project is being led by Newcastle University researchers, and funded by the research charity Autistica.

Read more. 

Initial study results summary
Adult Autism Spectrum Cohort – UK newsletter (autumn)
Measuring quality of life


Livewell leads the way in promoting dementia research tool

Livewell Southwest has been helping to raise awareness of Join Dementia Research (JDR) by asking their patients, carers and family members to get involved and sign up to JDR by using a handy kiosk, located in the foyer area of Edgcumbe Unit, on the Mount Gould site. Click here to read more.


Livewell Southwest patient proud to be a part of Research

Livewell Southwest is celebrating the contributions made to research as part of International Clinical Trials Day, 20 May. As part of our celebrations, we’re sharing the experiences of one of our patient’s – Barry – about why he signed up to take part in a research study which Livewell Southwest has been part of. Click here to read.


Research update

Back in 2014, the National Institute for Health Research and the Economic and Social Research Council awarded a team of researchers from over 13 organisations funding to start the IDEAL study which set out to explore the experiences of people affected by dementia and to find out what helps them to ‘live well’.

November 2018 – Newsletter

Participating in research – get involved!


Most people using our services find participating in research an extremely positive experience, due to the enhanced treatment they receive and the opportunity to contribute to the development of improved treatments for all.  If you are interested in taking part in research, please speak to your clinician. NHS Choices also has further information on research which is available here.

If you are at the Mount Gould Hospital site do come along and meet us. Please ask for the Research Team at the Main Reception in the Local Care Centre.

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