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John Keady, PhD, RMN, RNT


Personal profile


  • I lead the inter-disciplinary Dementia and Ageing Research Team [DART]
  • I hold a jointly funded post with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • I am founding and Co-Editor of Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice, Sage Publications. First edition 2002
  • I am a member of the MICRA management committee
  • I am a member of the Care Services and Public Health Grant Advisory Body of the Alzheimer's Society
  • I am an invited Senior Fellow with NIHR School for Social Care Research [2015-2019]


I trained as a mental health nurse in Warley Hospital, Brentwood, Essex (1983-1986) before moving to Bangor, North Wales in Autum 1986. Once in North Wales, I held a number of clinical appointments in dementia care, including 4 years as a community mental health nurse in a community mental health team for people with dementia in Merionnydd, Gwynedd, before moving into the University of Wales, Bangor in 1993 to pursue teaching and academic qualifications. My Ph.D. was studied part-time (1993-1999) and was focussed on the social construction of dementia as experienced by people with dementia and their families. At Northumbria University I held the first Professorial Chair in dementia care nursing in the UK before moving to The University of Manchester in October 2006 to take up the post of Professor of Older People's Mental Health Nursing, a joint appointment with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Research interests

My personal research interests are drawn primarily from the qualitative paradigm and built around four hubs: 1) creative social research methods; 2) grounded theory; 3) user and family involvement in research; and 4) pluralistic and constructivist evaluation. Since 2008 I have been the lead of the inter-disciplinary Dementia and Ageing Research Team [DART] which has a base at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work and is one of the School’s research groups.  Over the last 20 years I have been involved in a range of local, national and international studies in dementia care that span a number of funding providers, from Research Council to charitable sources to local care and service providers.

I am Chief Investigator on the ESRC/NIHR Neighbourhoods and Dementia mixed methods study which forms part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. The Neighbourhoods Study is a five year research study and has has eight inter-linked work programmes. Work programme 1 is about the active involvement of people living with dementia and their care partners [the Member Involvement Strategy]. Work programme 2 uses representative longitudinal study data, such as the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (also known as ELSA), to determine neighbourhood characteristics associated with good/poor cognitive ageing. This will help us to identify profiles of risk at a neighbourhood level.  Work programme 3 establishes an agreed standardised set of outcome measures, generating a core outcome set for research involving people with dementia and care partners. Work programme 4 adopts participatory approaches to understand the ways in which neighbourhoods support the wellbeing and everyday lives of people with dementia and their care partners. Work programme 5 is about developing the evidence base for evaluating dementia training in NHS hospitals. Work programme 6 is about the piloting and development of a couple-orientated self-management course - provided at home - to help sustain and enrich everyday life. Work programme 7 is about the development and testing of a linguistically appropriate and culturally sensitive personalised digitised life story tool for use by and with Deaf sign language users with dementia. Work programme 8 comprises the health and wellbeing strategy for staff and participating members. The duration of the research study allows these work programme dynamics and relationships to be explored over time. There are 27 named co-investigators involved in the Neighbourhoods Study with over 10 partner organisations. There are three full-time programme-linked ESRC PhD studentships, two situated in the north west of England and one in Scotland, and 2 PhD studentships offered through CEDER. This research programme will run between May 2014-April 2019

I have co-edited and/or co-authored a number of books in dementia, such as: Cox, S. and Keady, J. (Eds.). Younger People with Dementia: Planning, Practice and Development. 1999. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers;  Community Mental Health Nursing and Dementia Care: Practice Perspectives (Keady, Clarke and Adams, Open University Press, 2003;  Keady, J. and Watts, S. (Eds). Mental Health and Later Life: Delivering an Holistic Model for Practice. 2010. London: Routledge. I have also published over 100 peer reviewed articles.


I currently input onto a variety of modules on the MSc in Dementia Care (Simon Burrow Course Director)

My collaborations

Internationally, I am founding and Co-Editor of ‘Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice’, Sage Publications. Bi-monthly. First edition February 2002. The Editorial Board and Associate Editorial Board of ‘Dementia’ consist of world-class social scientists drawn from the academic, policy and practice communities internationally, including representation from the Scottish Dementia Working Group. A total of twelve countries are represented on the Editorial Boards of Dementia to encourage and support submissions from a global perspective. The dual USA-UK axis of the Journal Editors consolidates partnership working and provides stability for the journal.

I also have close working relationships with the the Centre for Dementia Research [CEDER;], Linköping University, Sweden [CEDER is directed by Professor Lars-Christer Hydén].

Nationally, I am a committee member of the Alzheimer’s Society ‘Care, Services and Public Health’ research funding stream [Grant Awarding Body]. November 2013-2016.

Locally, I am a member of the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing [MICRA] management committee

I also have close links with Manchester Camerata where we have conducted 2 projects and we have one ESRC CASE PhD studentship together [2015-2018]. Title: ‘Music Matters’: Developing an ‘in the moment’ multi-sensory music assessment tool for dementia through a participatory design. Supervisors: Professor John Keady, Professor Christine Milligan (Lancaster University), Dr Caroline Swarbrick & Nick Ponsillo (Manchester Camerata).

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • INTERDEM: European forum for early intervention in dementia
  • Alzheimer's Disease International
  • Alzheimer's Society
  • NMC

Methodological knowledge

Grounded Theory
Constructivist Research
Participative Approaches

Since 2007 I have worked with Dr Sion Williams (Bangor University) to create and test a new method of qualitative data collection based on biographical interviewing and the development of centre stage storylines.


  • PhD, RMN, RNT

Social responsibility

The Greater Manchester Health Innovation and Education Cluster (GMHIEC) funded ‘Getting to Know Me’ project (2010-2013) has involved people with dementia and carers and developed a 6-hour training resource on dementia for all staff members in acute care settings. To date, over 600 staff across Greater Manchester have been trained and evaluation data has demonstrated increased knowledge and confidence in working with people with dementia. The course and training materials are being promoted across MAHSC of good translational practice and is available for free download


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Dementia@Manchester
  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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