Last month saw the third and final CAHPR East Anglia research evening of 2021 held virtually and chaired by Dr Ruth Strudwick (Chair, CAHPR East Anglia). Whilst the attendance was lower than similar virtual events earlier in the year, there was still good representation across AHP groups.
The evening provided three excellent research presentations and a CAHPR update.
“Discharge from hospital with aphasia, description of the experience and characterisation of the literature: a scoping review”. Susie Williams, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust)
Susie presented the findings from her scoping review, which had been accepted for publication and undertaken through the Health Education England (HEE) and National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Academic Internship programme.
The presentation summarised the rationale for the scoping review, citing approximately 40,000 patients discharged from hospital each year with aphasia following stroke and a lack of literature including people with aphasia.
Database searches of qualitative research, including grey literature, provided 19 reports for inclusion. Key findings from the included reports identified Speech and Language Therapists as the dominant professional for accounts, whilst also highlighting the importance of strong relationships between family and healthcare professionals for successful advocacy. Some reports found a lack of consideration to the patient’s communication level at discharge, often resulting in delays or no follow up for aphasia on discharge.
The scoping review highlighted areas for further research and development; however, given the paper is due to be published, these have been withheld at Susie’s request.
Susie shared feedback on her own experiences of completing the pre-MSc internship, which provides salary backfill funding for 48 days of study leave and an award of 20 credits.
For information on the HEE and NIHR programmes: www.nihr.ac.uk
“RESTORE: EnRiched rehabilitation Environment promoting STrOke Recovery”. Maria Martin-Saez, Occupational therapy lead for stroke and Neurorehab teams, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The second presentation offered another insight into stroke rehabilitation through the concept of an enriched environment to try and address four unmet health needs in inpatient stroke care:
- Low therapy dose
- Patients being inactive and alone
- Feelings of frustration and disempowerment for caregivers
- Lack of evidence for organisation-level interventions
Maria’s presentation described the design for a non-randomised comparative group feasibility study, highlighting the importance of workshops to look at barriers and facilitators, and ensuring coproduction. Maria is undertaking the study whilst completing the MSc Clinical Research programme and spoke about the roles of her supervisor, mentor, and a stroke survivor in her network.
Following the presentation, the group discussed the impact of Covid-19 on patient rehabilitation due to the changes in the way services have been able to use their environment. Examples included communal areas not being available for group activities, reduced social interaction at mealtimes with dining areas closed, and large gym spaces being repurposed.
“Overview of Pregnancy Outcome Prediction Study 2 (POPS2)”. Ellen Dyer, Lead Research Sonographer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge
Ellen presented an overview of the POPS2, which follows the previous POPS1, and described the nested randomised controlled trial (RCT) design to screen for early identification of pre-eclampsia.
Assessment was based on maternal history and ultrasound, with inclusion criteria of nulliparous and single viable foetus at the 12-week scan where study recruitment will be offered.
The image below shows the timeline for routine and study visits, which will include additional blood sampling at 28wks and 36wks to check for an imbalance in two biomarkers, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1) and placental growth factor (PlGF). An elevated ratio of sFlt-1 to PlGF is highly predictive pre-eclampsia.
Whilst there have been no significant concerns regarding recruitment, Ellen described how Covid-19 had impacted on the additional hospital visits and/or restrictions for partners to attend, as well as the shortage of sonographers to undertake the additional research scans.
“National CAHPR update”. Dr Ruth Strudwick, Hub Lead, CAHPR East Anglia
Ruth provided an overview of the national CAHPR strategic objectives and described how the Professoriate, Regional Hub Forum and Strategy Committee function. In addition to her role as Hub Lead for CAHPR East Anglia, Ruth is also the Deputy Chair for the Hub Forum.
CAHPR is currently reviewing its strategic vision, opportunities for hub activities, and ways to improve inclusion and diversity. Look out for further updates on the CAHPR national and hub websites (see below).
CAHPR East Anglia has its own committee, which meets during the year to organise the research evenings and annual research conference. Prior to Covid-19, the research evenings were held in person three times a year in Cambridge, Ipswich, and Norwich; however, throughout 2021 the events have been held virtually using Zoom.
The role of local CAHPR hubs is to:
- Develop a supportive, vibrant local network for AHPs involved or interested in research
- Help AHPs to develop their research skills
- Raise the profile of AHP research within their organisations and geographical area
Members of CAHPR East Anglia will shortly receive a survey asking for feedback on the format of the evenings and conference in 2022, with the possibility of in-person or hybrid events next year. The survey will also allow you to share suggestions for a theme for the conference in 2022.
Key dates for 2022:
- Next research evening – Wednesday 9th February 2022
- Research conference – Saturday 22nd May 2022
Finally, check out the CAHPR national or CAHPR East Anglia websites for more information and useful resources, including the CAHPR East Anglia bursary application form for assistance with conference or event fees, or to purchase equipment for your research study.