PenCLAHRC research prioritisation concludes with event at Dartington Hall
Running since 2008, our research prioritisation process is one of the ways we aim to align our research programme with the needs and concerns of stakeholders and patients from across the South West region.
For the latest round of prioritisation, local healthcare professionals, patients and the public submitted almost 60 questions for consideration. These were whittled down to a shortlist of ten by our partner organisations during an initial phase of electronic voting.
These ten questions were then considered during a final round of discussions and voting, at a stakeholder event held at Dartington Hall on the 3rd March.
We will now dedicate resources to conducting more detailed scoping work on the two highest ranked questions, in order to test their feasibility as potential research projects.
Find out about the prioritisation process and which questions we will be taking forward in the news section of our website.
Police research partnership brings lasting impact
A collaborative study between the University of Exeter and Devon and Cornwall Police has fostered a long-term partnership to bring evidence and research into policing.
The Exeter Policing, Evidence and Research Translation study (ExPERT) was set up to take the lessons learnt from evidence-based practice in medicine and apply them to policing.
The ExPERT team have developed a programme of training, based on PenCLAHRC’s Making Sense of Evidence workshops, to help police staff feel confident identifying, critically assessing and using research evidence in their work.
Alexis Poole, Head of Performance and Analysis at Devon and Cornwall Police, said:
“We’re really excited about where the relationship has got to and what might happen in the future. We are working with the University in a number of areas, both within ExPERT and beyond it, and we’ve got some research projects that will carry on for quite some time after ExPERT has ended.”
Read the full story on the news pages of our website.
Partner in Focus - Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT)
As a partnership of NHS Trusts across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, plus the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter, PenCLAHRC aims to work with healthcare professionals, policymakers and the public to identify areas of research that reflect the real needs and concerns of the health service in the South West. Highlighting how this works in practice, we’ve brought together some of the work we've carried out with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT).
Successful projects we have undertaken in collaboration with the RCHT include integrating the Muscular Skeletal therapy services of Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust, and reviewing the distribution of outpatient clinics and clinicians across all the Trust's sites, to make the best possible use of resources and minimise travel time for patients and clinicians.
An ongoing collaboration with the RCHT Urology team has already led to a new protocol being created for treating muscle-invasive bladder cancer, based on evidence from our Operational Research team, PenCHORD. Building on this success, we are currently working with RCHT anaesthetists to help them implement new NICE guidelines on pre-operative assessments.
Some of our projects with the RCHT are now feeding into Cornwall's Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). Find out more about our this work on our website.
We aim to continue fostering successful partnerships with all our stakeholders to develop new, innovative initiatives that will further improve patient services across the region. If you would like to speak to us about how we can work with you to address health service issues or uncertainties in your organisation, please do get in touch.
Experiences of patient and public involvement in research shared
Senior PenCLAHRC staff members have shared their experiences of patient and public involvement in research (PPI), in video interviews with health information website healthtalk.org.
Director of PenCLAHRC Professor Stuart Logan, Helen Burchmore, Dr Kath Maguire, Dr Kristin Liabo and Dr Chris Morris discussed the challenges, benefits and rewards of PPI, including how best to involve the public in research.
Professor Logan praised the NIHR’s commitment to advocating PPI as an approach to research, and Dr Maguire advocated increased community outreach to recruit research participants.
Read the full story and watch the videos via our news pages.
MBE for inspiring physiotherapist and researcher
PenCLAHRC Senior Research Fellow and physiotherapist Dr Vicki Goodwin has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list 2017, for significant achievement or outstanding service to Physiotherapy.
Vicki is a physiotherapist specialising in the care of older people. Her main research interests are around the rehabilitation of older people, including those with dementia. She specialises in areas including rehabilitation after falls – working towards ensuring older people can have the best quality of life possible.
Dr Goodwin said: “I am completely shocked and truly humbled that I am being recognised for my work as a physiotherapist. Ultimately, my work is dedicated to improving the quality of life of older people, but it’s a real team effort. This is more a reflection of my family and friends and the people I have worked with over the years, who have supported and encouraged me.”
Read more on our website.
HSMA Project Focus - Devon Partnership NHS Trust
The Health Service Modelling Associates
(HSMA) programme is a pilot scheme run by PenCLAHRC’s operational modelling group PenCHORD
. It brings together university academics and health organisations from across the South West, building capacity within the NHS to generate and use evidence from modelling and operational research techniques.
Karl Vile, Operational Manager and Programme Lead at Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT) is one of six HSMAs selected from across the collaboration. Karl developed his project with the Urgent Care Programme Board at DPT, including the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, David Somerfield.
With support from his PenCHORD mentor Dr Sean Manzi, Karl has used three years of data to create a model of patients’ journey through DPT’s adult and older people's inpatient wards. This model identifies and tests different scenarios to measure the impact of changes on the system.
Karl said: “It has been a privilege to be able to spend a day per week learning new operational research skills and working on a project that will support one of Devon Partnership Trust’s major transformation programmes.”
Read the full story on the news pages of our website. To find out more about the Health Service Modelling Associates (HSMA) scheme, visit our website or come to the Final Seminar Event on 30 March.
Emoticons help gauge school happiness level in young children
A simple new questionnaire based on emoticon-style facial expressions could help teachers to engage children as young as four on their happiness and wellbeing levels in the classroom.
The How I Feel About My School (HIFAMS) questionnaire, designed by experts at the University of Exeter Medical School and supported by PenCLAHRC, is available to download for free
. It uses emoticon-style faces with options of happy, ok or sad and asks children to rate how they feel in seven situations during the day.
The questionnaire is now the subject of a paper in Clinical Childcare Psychology and Psychiatry
. Read the full story
on the news section of our website.
Pressures on the NHS - The answers are out there
Professor Jonathan Pinkney from Plymouth University, lead researcher on the PenCLAHRC-funded Avoidable Acute Admissions project
, discussed the winter crisis in hospitals in an article for the University's website:
"Hospitals and their staff are under immense pressure to ensure that each and every patient receives the best and most appropriate treatment. However, there is evidence that a significant proportion of acute hospital admissions are avoidable and hospitals across the country have introduced a range of innovative initiatives to try to avoid these unnecessary admissions.
Until we carried out our study, there had been no research to investigate how well such measures work in practice and whether they meet the needs of patients."
Read the full article
on the news page of our website, or visit the Avoidable Acute Admissions (AAA) project page
Rural dementia: we need to talk
PenCLAHRC-supported research into the experience of dementia in farming families, and its impact on their businesses and home lives, has identified four areas of concern.
The year-long study was undertaken by Plymouth University with support from Ian Sherriff
, Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia. The areas of concern identified were: the potentially hazardous farm environment; farmers’ reluctance to ask for help; lack of time and money to access support services; and ageing rural communities.
Based on their findings, the research team recommended that, where possible, farmers should plan ahead for the eventuality of ill health, including Lasting Powers of Attorney and succession planning. They also highlighted a need for joined up thinking and working between statutory agencies, dementia support organisations and rural communities.
Mr Sherriff discussed the findings on the BBC’s Countryfile, BBC Breakfast, Spotlight and Radio 4 Farming Today. Read the full story
on the news pages of our website.
Meet the PenCLAHRC team
PenCLAHRC has grown hugely in size since our doors first opened in 2008 and we now have more than 100 CLAHRC-supported staff and students across the South West. In our continuing series, we interview PenCLAHRC colleagues to help give a flavour of the broad range of people that make up our collaboration.
In this edition, we caught up with Research Fellow Dr Dawn Swancutt
What do you do at PenCLAHRC and how long have you worked here?
I am a health researcher working on new projects that come to PenCLAHRC through their question generation process
. My background is in using mixed-methods research, so I am used to working with qualitative and quantitative data, and research techniques, and applying them to the research question.
I came to PenCLAHRC three years ago to work on the Avoidable Acute Admissions study
, looking at decision-making in hospital Emergency Departments, particularly from the patient perspective.
What do you like most about your job?
The two things I really enjoy about my job are the people I work with and the variety of topics I get to work on. To carry out my research I work with remarkable people within my organisation, through contact with NHS staff and with the patients I meet. The way healthcare is provided slightly differently in various places makes each project interesting and unique for me.
What’s the hardest part about your job?
On the flip side, the hardest part of my job is getting all the variety I see into some kind of order that makes sense for others to understand easily.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
I would probably be running a much larger smallholding than I already have. Maybe nearer to the coast.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I have kept rare breed turkeys for the past 12 years and currently have a beautiful black and white variety called Crowlitzer. My alpacas, George and Morton, are supposed to be keeping foxes at bay, but I doubt their ability a little as they seem scared of their own shadows.