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Patient and public involvement in dementia research

A scoping review exploring patient and public involvement in dementia research in the European Union.


Internationally, there is a drive to involve patients and the public in health research, due to recognition that patient and public involvement (PPI) may increase the impact and relevance of health research. This scoping review describes the extent and nature of PPI in dementia research in the European Union (EU) and summarises: (i) how PPI is carried out; and (ii) the impact of PPI on people living with dementia and the public, researchers, and the research process.


Relevant studies were identified by searches in electronic reference databases and then filtered by two reviewers independently. Eligibility criteria for included studies were: (i) people living with dementia and/or care partners; (ii) PPI activity in dementia research conducted in the European Union (EU); and (iii) published between 2000 and 2018. An adapted version of the Guidance for Reporting Involvement of Patients and the Public (GRIPP2 SF) was used to collate the data. There was no language restriction other than the abstract needed to be available in English.


We found 19 studies from the UK and one from the Netherlands meeting inclusion criteria. No studies from other EU countries met inclusion criteria. Studies reported various methods of PPI including workshops, drop-in sessions, meetings, consensus conference, reader consultation and participatory approach. The reported aims of PPI included identifying and prioritising research questions (n = 4), research design (n = 5), undertaking and managing research (n = 8), and data analysis and interpretation (n = 3). All PPI related to design and implementation of non-pharmacological studies. One study described two pharmacological studies as case studies incorporating PPI. Seventeen studies reported anecdotal impacts of PPI.


Further development of PPI in dementia research in the EU and in pharmacological dementia research is required. Given the wide range of objectives of PPI in dementia research, PPI methods should be flexible and appropriate for the research context. Researchers should also formally evaluate and report the impacts of PPI for researchers, patients and the general public using good quality research designs to foster development of the field and enable the benefits and challenges of PPI to be better understood.

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BMC Geriatrics