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Staffan Karlsson

Professor of Nursing, at the School of Health and Welfare. Appointed in 2018.

Experience of working as a nurse benefits both teaching and research

Early on in his career as a nurse, Staffan Karlsson came into contact with people with dementia. He has benefited greatly from his experiences in his research into dementia care and the life situation of people with dementia and their relatives.

“The focus of my research is older patients with dementia. These are the most fragile elderly people, a group that are not always able to speak for themselves – they are in the hands of healthcare staff, while at the same time there is a heavy burden on the relatives,” says Staffan Karlsson.

Staffan Karlsson studied to become a nurse at Kristianstad University, and he then spent several years working in clinical care, especially with older people in various contexts – in emergency care, home care and residential care.

“I’ve found all that experience very useful in my teaching on the nursing course and when conducting my research,” he says.

European project on dementia care in eight countries
Staffan Karlsson’s thesis on the care and nursing of the elderly has its origins in a national study that he himself was involved in setting up, “Swedish National Study on Ageing and Care (SNAC)". The thesis was a starting point for further research on people with dementia and their relatives, and has resulted in several collaborations, nationally and internationally. Among other things, he was part of the European research project “RightTimePlaceCare”, which examined the care and nursing of people with dementia in eight European countries.

"We examined dementia care from different perspectives, we looked at the care systems and the life situations of people with dementia and their relatives in the various countries. The study also featured a health economic element, and they also investigated how to develop care for people with dementia in which care can increasingly be provided in the home environment.”

According to Staffan Karlsson, several studies show that Swedish dementia care performs well in international comparisons.

“Sweden has had national guidelines for dementia care since 2010, and we’ve recently seen a strong development in which more and more people with dementia can be cared for in their homes with the aid of various support measures for relatives, but also through day care activities, relief and alternating home and residential care.”

Health Lab enables students to practise authentic situations
A
ccording to Staffan Karlsson, this development has been further accelerated by the new Swedish act on support for relatives, which came into force in 2015 and obliges municipalities to provide support and assistance to relatives.

In future, Staffan Karlsson hopes to be able to lead and initiate more research projects within his area of research. He is at the same time Director of Health Lab at the University, which was inaugurated one year ago. This is a place where students, researchers and the University’s various collaborative partners can try out new work methods in authentic environments.

“So far, we’ve developed new methods for exercising in a home environment. We’ve been able to film simulations of different scenarios for exercise and transmitted audio and video to a different room, from where we could observe what happens at a distance. This has also given us the opportunity to reflect on a course of events during an exercise session.”

HANNA GROSSHÖG
Translation: SEMANTIX

Staffan Karlsson was born in 1959 in Ängelholm. He graduated as a nurse from Kristianstad University in 1982. After his first-cycle studies he worked in psychiatry, in particular with people with dementia, including at the Sankta Maria Hospital in Helsingborg (closed down in the 1990s). In 2008 he defended his doctorate at Lund University with a dissertation entitled “Older People’s public health care and social services, functional ability, health complaints, agreement in needs assessment and care satisfaction”. The thesis dealt with care and nursing for older people from different aspects, and he later conducted several studies in the field of care and nursing with focus on older patients. In 2015 he became Docent in Geriatric Nursing, and in 2018 he was appointed Professor of Nursing at Halmstad University, where he conducts research and also teaches and supervises the Nursing programme – with a focus on gerontology and geriatrics.

Picture: DAN BERGMARK

Updated 2018-11-15