Caring for front line carers – Ardfern scientist leads way

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Clapping for carers has become a feature of the coronavirus response, where the public applauds NHS and key workers each Thursday evening.

But what might the longer term impact be on the mental health of these staff after being on the COVID-19 front line?

A scientist from Ardfern is leading the way on research into this  important aspect of the pandemic.

Dr Alex Pollock is a Senior Research Fellow for the Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) research unit based at Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling.

Alex – mum to four teenagers – told the Advertiser: ‘I’ve been employed by the NMAHP research unit since 2008, with a contract to work from home – so I live and work from home in Ardfern.

‘My key role is to carry out systematic reviews of research evidence from around the world on a particular topic, often with the aim of finding out what treatments work best for a particular condition.

‘The research unit is focused on care delivered by nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, and there is particular expertise relating to mental health.’

Glasgow Caledonian University has been awarded £136,290 by the Scottish Government to fund three research projects concerning coronavirus and its impact, part of a £5 million package to support rapid research projects in Scotland.

Working with colleague with Dr Pauline Campbell, Alex will receive £28,317 for research on ‘Effective interventions to support the resilience and mental health of frontline health and social care staff during a global health crisis and following de-escalation’.

‘It’s a very small project in the grand scheme of things,’ said a modest Alex, ‘but it’s nice to be involved in something which is so relevant to the current crisis and to the well-being of frontline health and social care workers.’

The use of existing expertise will mean work can start this month and is expected to be completed in six months, generating recommendations for government as we move through the COVID-19 emergency.