Dr Amy Drahota-Towns
I am responsible for developing a research programme centred on health and social care of older people and aligned to the SHCP research theme ‘health and social care evidence and evaluation’. Current research projects include: (1) a systematic review funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment, exploring the use of shock-absorbing flooring for fall-related injury prevention in older people; (2) a service evaluation of an Age UK Portsmouth project aiming to reduce loneliness and isolation in older people and reduce the frequency of calls to the ambulance service; (3) a Cochrane systematic review on educational and psychological interventions for preventing falls in older adults; and (4) supporting an Innovate UK and Knowledge Transfer Network project (funded by Horizon 2020) called RCT4MANU, aimed at accelerating the use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in innovation agencies. I supervise a range of postgraduate research students in areas aligned to my research interests and methodological expertise, including topics on falls prevention, healthy ageing environments, and social support in older age. I also manage the University of Portsmouth Ageing Network (UPAN), and support public involvement in research, innovation, and educational activities. Through UPAN, I work across the University and with the wider academic, business, and social communities, to help grow activities in the field of ageing across all academic disciplines, including research, innovation, teaching and community outreach.
Previously, I have been a Research Fellow and on a part-time secondment to the UK Cochrane Centre as a lecturer in systematic reviews. My PhD was a mixed methods study including an RCT, focus groups, interviews, and a systematic review. Prior to this, I undertook an MSc in Psychological Research Methods (distinction), and BSc (Hons) in Psychology (2:1). My research has included the first and only hospital-based pilot cluster RCT on shock absorbing flooring for fall-related injury prevention. I also have enjoyed working with Cochrane on training materials in research methods, including developing a suite of online learning materials, and I have been involved in the development of Cochrane’s risk of bias tool for cluster RCTs.
My research interests primarily lie in the fields of ageing and age-friendly environments.
Projects have included:
- The SAFEST Review: Shock-Absorbing Flooring Effectiveness SysTematic Review including older adults and staff in care settings
- Evaluation of the ‘Close Encounters’ service for reducing loneliness and isolation in older people
- Psychological and Educational Interventions for Preventing Falls in Older People in the Community (Cochrane Systematic Review)
- Research to improve customer experience and safety when using escalators
- The HIP-HOP Flooring Study: Helping Injury Prevention in Hospitalised Older People.
- The PEOPPLE Project: Putting Evidence for Older People into Practice in Living Environments.
- NIHR Physical Environments study exploring the design of dementia care wards to create falls prevention design toolkit.
- Undertaking systematic reviews