The NMAHP Research Unit is a multidisciplinary national research unit, funded by the Scottish Government, with a remit to conduct high quality research that enables nurses, midwives and allied health professions (AHPs) to make a difference to patient health outcomes. The strategic aims of the unit include undertaking research (including systematic reviews) that addresses the effectiveness of nursing, midwifery and allied health professional (NMAHP) interventions, as well as methodological research to improve our ability to evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions. The NMAHP Research Unit is a key contributor to Cochrane in relation to reviews of internationally important rehabilitation topics.
Since signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cochrane Rehabilitation in Paris in 2017, the NMAHP Research Unit have been supporting the aims and goals of Cochrane Rehabilitation by working toward addressing methodological challenges relating to improving the efficiency and relevance of synthesised evidence. In particular, we have completed work in the following areas:
1. Involving people
We have continued to work toward developing and strengthening methods of involving stakeholders (including patients, caregivers, public and health professionals) within systematic reviews relating to rehabilitation; key outputs in this area include:
- Kayes, N., Martin, R., Bright, F., Kersten, P. and Pollock, A. (2019) Optimising the real-world impact of rehabilitation reviews: increasing the relevance and usability of systematic reviews in rehabilitation. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 55(3), DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.19.05793-9
- Pollock, A., Campbell, P., Struthers, C., Synnot, A., Nunn, J., Hill, S., Goodare, H., Morris, J., Watts, C. and Morley, R. (2019) Development of the ACTIVE framework to describe stakeholder involvement in systematic reviews. Journal of Health Service Research & Practice 24(4); 245-255 Doi: 10.1177/1355819619841647
- Hoddinott, P., Pollock, A., O’Cathain, A., Boyer, I., Taylor, J., Macdonald, C., Oliver, S. and Donovan, J. (2018) How to incorporate patient and public perspectives into the design and conduct of their research (opinion piece). F1000research, 18 (7), pp. 752
- Pollock, A., Campbell, P., Struthers, C., Synnot, A., Nunn, J., Hill, S., Goodare, H., Morris, J., Watts, C. and Morley, R. (2018) Stakeholder involvement in systematic reviews: a scoping review. Systematic Reviews, 7(1), pp. 208, DOI: 10.1186/s13643-018-0852-0
Recently the NMAHP Research Unit has been successful in obtaining research funding to support a number of systematic review projects in which we will further explore methods of involving people. These include:
- Perceptual disorders after stroke intervention evidence review (PIONEER): https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?RecordID=160270
- Strategies Used for Constipation in Children - Evidence Synthesis involving Stakeholders (SUCCESS): https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?RecordID=159008
We have continued to try to secure funding to continue our work aimed at identifying optimal methods and guidance relating to how to involve people in systematic reviews; we are currently working on a collaborative funding application with colleagues in Ottawa, Canada.
2. Develop and strengthen overview methodology
The NMAHP Research Unit have specific interest in methods of overviews of systematic reviews, and in ensuring that overviews are relevant and useful. Since signing the MoU, we have led and contributed to a number of overviews of systematic reviews of important rehabilitation topics, and worked to enhance the methods, and optimise the impact, of overviews of reviews. Recent publications focussed specifically on overview methodology include:
- Pollock, A. and van Wijck, F. (2019) Cochrane overviews: how can we optimise their impact on evidence-based rehabilitation? European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 55(3), DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.19.05780-0
- Pollock, A., Campbell, P., Brunton, G., Hunt, H. and Estcourt, L. (2017) Selecting and implementing overview methods: implications from five exemplar overviews. Systematic Reviews 6(145) Doi: 10.1186/s13643-017-0534-3
- Hunt, H., Pollock, A., Campbell, P., Estcourt, L. and Brunton, G. (2018) An introduction to overviews of reviews: planning a relevant research question and objective for an overview. Systematic Reviews, 7 (1), pp. 39, DOI: 10.1186/s13643-018-0695-8
3. Strengthen rehabilitation review methods
As well as continued production, and regular update of, a wide range of systematic reviews (including Cochrane reviews) of rehabilitation interventions, we have been working towards methodological enhancement and development in this field. Recent key papers relating to review methods include:
- Brady, M., Godwin, J., Kelly, H., Enderby, P., Elders, A. and Campbell, P. (2018) Attention control comparisons with speech and language therapy for people with aphasia following stroke: methodological concerns raised following a systematic review. Clinical Rehabilitation, 32 (10), pp. 1383-1395.
- France, E., Cunningham, M., Ring, N., Uny, I., Duncan, E., Jepson, R., Maxwell, M., Roberts, R., Turley, R., Noyes, J., Booth, A. and Britten, N. (2019) Improving reporting of Meta-Ethnography: The eMERGe Reporting Guidance. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 19 (1), pp. 25.
- Weir, C., Butcher, I., Lewis, S., Murray, G., Langhorne, P. and Brady, M. (2018) Dealing with missing standard deviation and mean values in meta-analysis of continuous outcomes: a systematic review. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 18 (1).
- Pollock, A. and Berge, E. (2018) How to do a systematic review. International Journal of Stroke, 13 (2), pp. 138-156
In April 2020 Alex Pollock will take on the shared role as Co-ordinating Editor of Cochrane Stroke. This will provide further opportunities to do methodological work relating to Cochrane reviews relating to rehabilitation.