“I am a lay member of the ESHCRU Advisory Group. I was asked to join because of my experience as a carer, supporting my husband who has Dementia. During my time as a member, I have attended regular Advisory Group meetings; contributed to specific projects within the programme of work; provided feedback on written information aimed at a lay audience; and contributed to the preparation of funding proposals for research projects.
My involvement in all this work has been interesting and enjoyable. Attendance at meetings was a bit daunting at first – until I realised that I was not expected to understand some of the very technical work that is carried out! I have always felt welcome and supported and that my opinions have been listened to and respected.
As a lay person, I feel that my main contribution to the work of ESHCRU has been to offer a view on how the issues being researched affect real people, from my perspective as a carer and service user. When relevant, I have been able to share some of my experiences in navigating the system, to highlight difficulties and gaps in support as I have found them and to comment on health and care priorities as I see them, which helps to guide the direction of the research.”