Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit

Published on: 10 September 2014

The Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit (PenCRU) is helping to improve the health and wellbeing of disabled children and their families.

The Unit works to involve families as much as possible in its research – historically they have had little say in what research should be carried out. The PenCRU Family Faculty allows people to take part in a number of ways, from joining its advisory group to helping disseminate research results.

Julia Melluish’s son Harrison has cerebral palsy. She feels being involved in the Unit has been of great benefit, saying: “I wanted to learn everything I could to empower myself, and to become a better parent to Harrison. Being part of PenCRU meant I was using my brain, and I was regarded as having expert knowledge. That was so important for me personally.”

Bel McDonald, whose son Fergus has Down’s Syndrome, added: “At the PenCRU family forums, all input is valued and everyone is made to feel extremely comfortable. That gives a really meaningful boost, and we’re so lucky to have it on our doorstep.”

The Unit’s research covers a range of topics, including improving communications with disabled children in hospitals, measuring care outcomes, and understanding attitudes towards disabled children.

PenCRU is supported by the Cerebra charity and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Peninsula Centre for Leadership and Applied Health Research and Care (PenCLAHRC) and is based at the University of Exeter Medical School.

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