Royal College of Nursing 2015 Award Winner

Winner of 2015 IGA / RCN Research Awards

Professor Heather Waterman

Cardiff University

Project Title ‘Patients’ and carers’ perspectives of managing glaucoma when living with dementia: a grounded theory study’

Awarded £24,972

The project will start 1st February 2016 and finish 30th April 2017.

Summary of the project

  • To understand people’s experiences of managing glaucoma while also living with dementia;
  • To explore their main concerns when they attend out-patient glaucoma clinics and what processes are involved in trying to solve these concerns;
  • To examine how they and their carers’ manage glaucoma eye drop regimes;
  • To obtain findings that will support the development of clinical guidance on how glaucoma services may be improved to meet the needs of people living with dementia.

About one in four people who have severe visual impairment from glaucoma also have a diagnosis of dementia.

It is more difficult to assess and treat glaucoma when people also live with dementia and together they compound feelings of distress and disorientation. However, we do not know how people living with dementia understand and cope with having a sight threatening condition such as glaucoma and thereby neither do health care professionals know how to help these people most appropriately so that they can live well. 

This study aims to generate a theory of people’s experiences of managing glaucoma when living with dementia and from this support the development of clinical guidance on how glaucoma services may be improved to meet the needs of people living with dementia.  

Two interviews will be carried out about four months apart with about 12 people living with dementia and glaucoma and their carers (n=12).   This will help to understand how the passage of time may affect people’s ability to be responsible for their condition.  

Consenting procedures for this group of vulnerable adults will follow principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.   A carefully constructed interviewing style will probe: participants’ experiences of glaucoma and dementia, their understanding and beliefs of glaucoma, their understanding and implementation of glaucoma eye drop regimes and their main concerns when they visit the glaucoma clinic and how they seek to resolve them.  

The theory that is developed will explain the processes involved in managing glaucoma and will indicate how clinicians can support patients appropriately to live positively.  

This research therefore will have a significant impact for the better on people’s experiences of glaucoma and it is anticipated that it will be influential in policy and clinical guidelines.