Advanced Care Research Centre

Creating Alternative Pathways of Support for Older Informal Caregivers

Creating Alternative Pathways of Support for Older Informal Caregivers is a newly funded project by the Wellcome Trust Institutional Translational Partnership Award (iTPA).

The project aims to co-develop alternative support pathways to provide older informal caregivers with long-term conditions who look after people with multimorbidity with new opportunities for rapid support before a crisis associated with caregiving occurs.

older couple smiling


People are living longer. While a good thing, it means more of us are living with two or more long-term conditions (multimorbidity). To manage their everyday needs, people with multimorbidity commonly depend on the informal (unpaid) care of family and friends to maintain their independence and quality of life. Informal caregiving can affect caregivers, especially older caregivers who often have long-term conditions themselves. Considering our increasing dependency on informal care as we encounter an ageing population, providing accessible and tailored support services to older informal caregivers is critical. 

Adult day-care centres provide essential respite for informal caregivers. Previous research has shown better psychosocial outcomes in informal caregivers benefiting from adult day-care services. In collaborating with local adult day-care centres and informal caregivers, we aim to identify older informal caregiver needs and priorities and co-develop alternative support pathway to pilot.

Meet the Team

Dr. Stella Arakelyan

Stella Arakelyan

Stella’s expertise is in public health research and practice. Her research focuses on examining health system responses to prevention and control of chronic conditions and co-development and evaluation of health service improvement interventions. She has a research track record spanning a period of 13 years in which she published over 25 scientific articles, reports, and briefings. Dr Arakelyan currently uses participatory and system thinking methods in partnership with patients, caregivers, health and social care professionals, and wider stakeholders to explore systems problems and co-design hospital- and community-based complex interventions to optimise health and care services for people with multimorbidity and their informal caregivers.

Dr. Jacob Sheahan

Jacob Sheahan

With a background in industrial and interaction design and conducting participatory design research, Jacob’s work focuses on socially complex contexts from ageing to health to safety. Having studied at RMIT University, Melbourne, Jacob is well-versed in interdisciplinary and collaborative projects that partner with local communities and organisations to develop socio-technical designs and innovations.

Professor Bruce Guthrie

Bruce Guthrie

Bruce Guthrie is Professor of General Practice at the Usher Institute, in the Edinburgh Medical School.

Bruce is a mixed methods health services researcher with an interest in the quality and safety of health and social care, particularly in relation to multimorbidity and polypharmacy. As well as research, he works clinically as a GP and works closely with the NHS and government to improve healthcare quality and safety.

He is the Director of the ACRC, and one of the leads for Data-Driven Prediction and Insight.

Find out more about Bruce Guthrie on their profile page

Professor John Vines

John Vines photo

John Vines is Chair of Design Informatics in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, and is Co-Director of the Institute for Design Informatics. His research is in the field of human-computer interaction, where he studies the lived experience of digital and data-driven technologies and uses participatory methodologies to design new technologies that have social impact and value.

Find out more about John Vines on their profile page

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