East Anglia CAHPR February 2022 research evening: a blog by Helen Hall

Helen Hall Paramedic and hub committee member presents a summary of the East Anglia CAHPR research evening held on Wednesday 9th February 2022.

A whole mix of AHP professions attended the CAHPR East Anglia Research event including Dietitians, Paramedics, Radiographers and Speech and Language Therapists.  Dr Ruth Strudwick chair of the hub kicked off the evening by welcoming everyone – this was the first event of 2022 and there were 15 attendees in all.

Dimitra Zannidi was first up with “Factors associated with significant weight loss in hospitalised COVID-19 patients: experience from a large teaching hospital”.

Dimitra is a specialist Dietitian working at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and she is part of a team who have been exploring the association between weight loss and COVID-19 by way of a retrospective cohort trial.  Dimitra described how malnutrition is common in hospitalised patients with COVID 19 and how there is a higher prevalence among critically ill patients versus general ward patients.

Perhaps unsurprisingly mortality odds among COVID-19 inpatients with malnutrition is 10 times higher than those that are not malnourished.  This study collected routinely reported data extracted from electronic health records including demographics, disease related factors and post discharge information. In a big sample size of hospitalized patients during the COVID-19 first wave, the CUH Nutrition and COVID-19 working group investigated factors associated with significant weight loss during the hospital admission. They also aimed to identify which patients required ongoing dietetic input and oral nutritional supplements GP prescription post hospital discharge. Dimitra asked us not to share the study findings as this study is as yet un-published so watch this space for further updates.…

Rekha Srinivasan was next up with a really fascinating presentation about her literature review investigating the role of family in physical rehabilitation of patients with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

Rekha is a neuro clinical lead physiotherapist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust having graduated in India and arriving in the UK in 2004.  Rekha completed a literature review as part of the NIHR/HEE funded ICA bridging programme: “Impact of family in physical rehabilitation of Acquired Brain Injury patients in acute setting”.  ABI includes traumatic brain injury as well as tumours, stroke and brain haemorrhage and may result in functional disability which can be treated using physical rehabilitation. 

Rekha described how family involvement from the beginning can increase the intensity of the therapy, reduce family and patient anxiety on discharge, and can minimise health and social care costs. 42 articles were found using search terms and a further 13 following hand searches and using references.  Following the application of inclusion and exclusion criteria this left 8 articles for critical appraisal. Rekha noted how many of the papers found relating to family involvement were about stroke patients with little evidence available for other types of ABI. Another interesting finding Rekha reported was the importance of taking into account caregivers physical and mental ability.  Rekha is now preparing this review for publication and is planning a case study on the neurosciences ward at NNUH. Rekha is planning to continue her clinical academic pathway by applying for the Pre-Doctoral Bridging award in 2023 and is happy for any potential research collaborators to contact her.

The third presenter is familiar face to our hub. Lynsey Spillman is lead hepatology and liver transplant dietitian at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS foundation Trust.

Lynsey described her inspirational career journey so far which started from her home in Devon but is now firmly based in Cambridge. Following completion of her first degree, Lynsey completed a NIHR funded MSc Clinical Research in 2015 followed by an Addenbrookes Charitable Trust and Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre funded pre doctoral fellowship in 2017. Lynsey has now been awarded a prestigious NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship.

Lynsey tells us how she has always known that she wanted a clinical academic career and loves her current job, spending 50% of her time caring for and treating NHS patients and the other 50% focussing on her research portfolio. Lynsey obviously has an awesome determination to achieve her goals and aspirations, it hasn’t always been easy and Lynsey credits her success to a combination of hard work and all the support and encouragement she has received along the way.  Lynsey has plans to continue progressing her clinical/academic career by applying for a NIHR Clinical Lectureship in the future. Lynsey is such an inspiration to AHPs who want a career in research and am following Lynsey’s clinical academic career with interest.





The final presenter of the evening was Steven Whitton, CAHPR East Anglia Committee member and Physiotherapist.

Steven conducted a CAHPR East Anglia member survey to gain views on the format changes of the research evenings and events in response to COVID-19.  Virtual research events have been held over the past 18 months which have allowed more people to attend but it is noticeable the networking opportunities are limited. The survey contained 10 closed, open and multiple choice questions and were sent out to all AHPs on the East Anglia CAHPR mailing list.

29 responses were received and on average it took 4 mins 30 secs to complete.  With 38% of survey respondents not attending a CAHPR event during 2021 the main reason sited was lack of time.  When asked if the evening research events should be virtual,  hybrid or in person it was pretty evenly split between hybrid and virtual although when the same question was asked about the conference the overwhelming response was for a hybrid event. The survey asked for suggestions around conference themes and received a mix of ideas including, turning an idea into a successful grant proposal, research impact, implementation of research into practice and patient and public involvement. When asked about feedback on the CAHPR East Anglia Website the responses were mostly positive with statements such as “very professional”, “lots of relevant info”, “good content and clear information for guiding to correct task and activities” and “good that it is linked to Twitter”. The last survey question asked for any other feedback or comments  and there were some really encouraging comments “Thank you for the work you do!”, “I really enjoyed the conference in May and thought the speakers were excellent- overall a really useful and engaging event”. There were also some suggestions:  “ If some online sessions could start after 7-30 -8pm that would help me attend” “Please could the news letters be printed on lighter colour back grounds”.  The survey overall provided an opportunity to engage with AHPs and hear their views.  Steven thanked everyone who has taken part and said the full report would be on the CAHPR Website.

Ruth closed the event by thanking all the speakers and announcing the date of the conference will be 21st May 2022 and the next evening research event will be 29th June 2022. Both events will be held face to face and virtually.

This was another fabulous and friendly evening with lots of AHPs all talking research around different subjects and using different methods.  I would recommend this forum for any AHP who wants to network with other likeminded professionals, present their project in front of a friendly audience or just wants to expand their knowledge often outside of their professional area of expertise.

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