Lorna Roe, IntBSocSc, MSc (Social Policy Research), PhD

Atlantic Fellow at GBHI

Professional Profile
Home Country: Ireland
Field of Employment: Academic health services researcher
Social Media: Twitter: @roe_lorna

Prior to 2011, Lorna Roe worked as a Social Policy Officer for a large Irish charity for older people, representing the interests of older people in Irish policy making processes. Lorna was then invited to join an Irish PhD program in population health and health services research funded by the Health Research Board. During her time in academia she has investigated how older people with complex needs access health care and the implications for the design of an integrated healthcare system. Lorna pursued this using frailty as a lens for complex needs and examined how frailty drives patterns of health service utilization using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Brain health has been a missing but very important part of this work and, as the TILDA study matures, Lorna believes there is now an opportunity to examine the impact of dementia on patterns of health service utilization and the implications for health policy and healthcare planning.

Lorna believes that there is limited evidence on how older people living with dementia use the ‘whole’ system of healthcare (primary care, secondary care and long term care) in Ireland. She argues that as new policies are being developed which determine the rules for allocating homecare and other services, it is essential that this knowledge gap is filled so that the needs of older people with dementia are visible to, and understood by, policy makers and service planners.

Dementia impacts on people in different ways, however, it is common that it increases the need for medical care and for social care where functional limitations are experienced. We know anecdotally that people living with dementia have difficulties accessing healthcare, particularly social care, and that informal carers often provide the bulk of care until such a time that the care needs overwhelm these care efforts which often results in a nursing home admission. There is limited evidence on the health and socio-economic factors that facilitate or impede access to healthcare among people living with dementia. This is an important research gap, particularly as the stated desire of the majority of older people is to remain living in their own home. As an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI I will examine this question using data from longitudinal studies. Outside of my fellowship you will typically find me running, swimming or cycling in Dublin.

Bio: Lorna Roe started out studying social science at the University College Dublin, graduating with a first class honours degree. She then studied for a Masters in Social Policy Research with the London School of Economics and Political Science. Lorna then worked as a Social Policy Officer for Age Action Ireland, an Irish charity which advocates for the rights of older people in Ireland. In 2011 she joined the HRB PhD Scholars program to undertake a PhD in population health and health services research, becoming a Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Policy and Management in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2016. More recently she was the Assistant Director for Teaching and Learning on the SPHeRE PhD program in a part research/part academic management role at TCD. In a voluntary capacity, Lorna is on the Executive Committee of the Irish Gerontological Society and the Irish Social Policy Association and contributes to the development of events and submissions with these organizations.

Links: https://www.tcd.ie/medicine/staff/loroe/