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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Engaging with stakeholders about ageing with chronic pain in rural areas

By Tom Kingstone 
PhD Student, Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences (IPCHS), Keele University

A workshop funded by IPCHS and the Beth Johnson Foundation (BJF) was held at Trinity Church in Leek, Staffordshire on 17th June 2015. The topic of discussion centred on ageing with chronic pain in rural areas. Twenty-eight people took part, including representatives from external organisations: Age UK North Staffordshire, Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance, Moorlands Homelink, the Royal Voluntary Service, Staffordshire County Council, and Your Housing Group. These were joined by members of the public, research participants and IPCHS Research User Group (RUG) members.

What was the purpose of the workshop?
To disseminate findings from research involving rural-dwelling older adults and to stimulate discussion. I shared findings from my PhD research exploring experiences of chronic pain. Lynne Wealleans, Programme Lead (BJF), shared findings examining community assets and social participation. We used these findings to stimulate discussion about wider rural issues and to promote age-friendliness. The World Health Organisation (WHO) developed the age-friendly concept as an urban initiative; it has eight domains (e.g. community support and health services, social participation). We applied this concept to rural contexts to raise awareness of challenges facing older people and to identify priorities, as has been done previously in Canada.

Start of day - eight age-friendly domains arranged into a flower
End of day - age-friendly domains covered in notes created by participants

Who else from PCHS was involved?
I was supported by colleagues: Shula Baker, Bernadette Bartlam, Carolyn Chew-Graham, Adrian Chudyk, Vince Cooper, Katie Dixon, Adele Higginbottom and two members of the RUG Stuart and Angie Emery. In addition to participating in the workshop, Vince went the extra mile by driving the minibus providing a shuttle service from Sainsbury’s supermarket car park (where parking was provided for free!) to the venue. A team effort all round!

What did I find out?

For those who are interested, a summary report will shortly be available on my student profile page.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Keele and South Staffs lead symposium at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress

By Carolyn Chew-Graham, Professor of General Practice Research, Keele University

With Athula Sumathipala, Professor of Psychiatry (Keele University) and Eleanor Bradley, Professor of Psychology (University of Worcester), we led a symposium at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress in Birmingham earlier this month.  

Our title was ‘Beyond the RCT; the added value of qualitative research within health services research’  and we faced a large audience in the main auditorium in the International Conference Centre on a roasting hot day.

Athula spoke about the cognitive representation of medically unexplained symptoms, implication for treatment development research, his trials in Sri Lanka and our plans to continue this work in the UK, starting with our small scale study funded by SPCR.

Carolyn presented the results of the COINCIDE trial (a multi-centre RCT of a collaborative care intervention for people with depression and diabetes and/or heart disease. She described the value of the nested qualitative study in helping to explain the trial results.

Eleanor eloquently spoke about the value of qualitative work in understanding the perspectives of carers, supporting family members with mental health problems.

Some of the questions were challenging [‘just because a patient says that’s what they want, is that right?’..….’how does collaborative care fit within Simon Stevens’ five year plan?’…….’how do you get qualitative work published?].

We feel the symposium went extremely well, there was lively discussion after the session had finished, and contacts made with colleagues in Warwick and Birmingham. We were really pleased that John Cox, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry from Keele, contributed to the discussion, and expressed his support to the development of mental health research and academic psychiatry at Keele.