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21 January 2019

Hat trick for staff at patient focused research awards

Staff in the Cicely Saunders Institute were recognised in three award categories.

Lots of blue stars

Staff in the Cicely Saunders Institute recently celebrated multiple successes at the ‘Know Your CLAHRC’ awards, winning in three out of nine categories. The awards recognised the achievements of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) in South London during 2018.

CLAHRCs are collaborative regional partnerships between universities and NHS organisations, focused on improving patient outcomes through the conduct and application of applied health research. 

Work for the Palliative and End of Life Care theme conducted by researchers at the Cicely Saunders Institute was recognised for a variety of projects that aim to improve care for patients with life-threatening illness, and their families. This included a group award for ‘Most Innovative Patient and Public Involvement Activity’, and two individual awards for ‘Most Original Research Paper’ and ‘Most active contribution from a member of professional services staff’.

Most Innovative Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Activity

This award acknowledged the implementation of an innovative co-designed evaluation project of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) activity within the Palliative and End of Life Care (PEoLC) theme.

The team aimed to assess the extent to which the principles of the PPI Strategy for 2017-2020 put forth by the Cicely Saunders Institute Patient and Public Involvement Evaluation Team were met. The evaluation began in Spring 2018 and comprised of three core components: description of PPI activities across all ongoing or recently completed projects; audit of PPI membership; and focus groups involving PPI members and researchers. This work was critical in highlighting gaps in diversity within the group and stressed the importance of careful and creative methods of involvement, with adequate training to support this.

The judges noted that they were very impressed with the way in which this project incorporated suggestions from the PPI community into the evaluation, resulting in new ways of working.

Most Original Researcher Paper

Research Associate Dr Clare Ellis-Smith won the award for most original research paper. The paper ‘How can a measure improve assessment and management of symptoms and concerns for people with dementia in care homes? A mixed-methods feasibility and process evaluation of IPOS-Dem’ was published in PLOS ONE in July 2018.

Clare's paper documents the rigorous methods used in evaluating IPOS-Dem to support systematic and comprehensive assessment and management of symptoms and concerns experienced by people with dementia who may have other chronic illnesses associated with older age.

The judges particularly noted the high quality of this original research, specifically noting its potential impact in changing care delivery for people with dementia by advancing research and care practices internationally.

Most active contribution from a member of professional services staff

Halle Johnson, Research Projects and Coordination Assistant and Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Coordinator, was awarded most active contribution from a member of professional services staff at the Cicely Saunders Institute.

Halle has made an outstanding contribution to the activities of the CLAHRC Palliative and End-Of-Life Care theme through supporting involvement of patients, carers, and members of the public in our research. These achievements have bridged both theme-level activities i.e. evaluating and improving our overarching PPI practices and infrastructure and activities at the level of individual research projects within Palliative and End-Of-Life Care theme.

The judges stated that they were highly impressed by the support Halle gave to PPI members training and how subsequent involvement enhanced the validity of the analysis and provided perspectives previously not considered by the research team.