Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Universidat Autònoma de Barcelona's SLT society

The Universidat Autònoma de Barcelona's SLT society 'Logopèdia Activa!' in action at a stall during the university's annual university celebrations raising awareness about SLT through activities and cakes.

Showing also that student societies are a great way for SLT students to make connections with other students internationally.

Check out this recent interview conducted by Chiara Vivaldi (@VivaldiC) with one of the students there.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Students and research: another perspective

Thank you to Chiara Vivaldi (@VivaldiC) for producing the latest ResNetSLT blog post.

Speech and language therapists are an international community, so having written previously about my own experiences of getting involved in research as a student, let me present you with a different perspective

Paula is a final year speech and language therapy student at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, in Spain. I interviewed Paula and asked her to share her views with ResNetSLT.

Why did you get involved in research as a student?

It started in class, hearing contradictory information, and wanting to seek out evidence to establish why these contradictions existed, and our lecturers' emphasise the use and need of research. At the end of the day we're doing therapy with people and therefore have a duty to be as informed as possible.

How did you first get involved?

Having a supportive lecturer was key, they saw my interest and offered me opportunities to get involved in existing research through helping with assessments and data analysis. I'm now running a small research project, having been offered the opportunity based on my previous experience.

What are you finding most difficult in running your own research project?

Just getting started, I wasn't sure where to look for information. Establishing the methodology was also difficult, as my course hasn't included any formal teaching on this, although this has now changed.

Finally, I'd say issues around consent such as working out what information I needed to collect and how. The research team I'm attached to for this project have been great in supporting me.

What are you enjoying the most?

Carrying out the intervention and the enthusiasm around the project.

What have you gained from being involved in research?

How to think critically, especially around reading research critically. The opportunity to participate in the research team’s meetings and discuss my ideas with them has been invaluable.

Many of the themes such as the importance of support from colleagues hold true regardless of whether you are a student or a qualified SLT carrying out research.

It's also interesting to see two more student-specific themes: the importance of including methodologies in the SLT curriculum and being provided with the opportunities and support to put that learning into practice.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI): A global language for people with dysphagia

Thank you to Sukhi Aujla (@sukhpreet_aujla) for producing the latest #ResNetSLT blog post.

The Tweetchat on July 25th, 2018, focused on the implications of the United Kingdom adopting the standardised terminology agreed by the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) committee for texture modified foods and thickened liquids.

Clinicians agreed on the importance and timeliness of IDDSI. The recent NHS Improvement (NHSi) Patient Safety Alert (June 27th, 2018) detailed a review of the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) incidents over a two-year period.

They identified seven incidents where patients appear to have come to significant harm because of confusion over the meaning of 'soft diet'.

Inconsistency in labels used for diet and fluid modifications can therefore be linked to episodes of patient ill-health or death. Three years of ongoing work by the IDDSI Committee has culminated in a final framework consisting of a continuum of eight levels (0-7) spanning food and fluid.

Each level is identified by numbers, text labels and colour codes, and contains a technical description and objective testing method. The framework was developed by a multi-professional group following a rigorous process of reviewing existing national terminologies, a systematic review of research literature, and a survey of more than 5,000 international stakeholders.

The IDDSI committee has also highlighted the urgent need for further research for example, determining fluid thickness levels that provide therapeutic benefit by reducing risk for penetration and aspiration and/or improving swallow function.

There are a number of current and planned research studies. When working with people with dysphagia, the need to speak the same 'language' across all health, social and residential care settings is clear. RCSLT and NHSi have recommended that all healthcare settings are IDDSI compliant by April 1st, 2019.

The implementation of IDDSI presents a significant challenge for all SLTs working with people with dysphagia, and a real life example of the complexities of translating research into clinical practice. 

Please click here for further information and regular updates.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Tweetchat: Validity, reliability and generalisability in qualitative research

The eighth #ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place place on Wednesday, 26th September.

The chat was hosted by Milly Heelan (@heelan_phd) and Chiara Vivaldi (@VivaldiC) and was based around the discussion paper: Validity, reliability and generalisability in qualitative research.

Please click here to view the pre-chat overview and questions.

We had 27 people actively tweeting and using our hashtag #ResNetSLT, with many others also watching and retweeting the conversations. There were 180 tweets in total during the hour, with a 'reach' to over 178,402 linked Twitter accounts.

We were joined by people with a range of backgrounds in qualitative research, from seasoned researchers to those trying it for the first time. All agreed that qualitative research is invaluable as it can push forward improvements in healthcare delivery by answering questions that are not within the scope of quantitative research.

A discussion of the challenges involved in reading and applying qualitative research to clinical practice highlighted difficulties with replicability, generalisability and the potential subjectivity of research interpretations. It was heartening to hear however, that it does become easier.

Studying research methods, practicing critical appraisal and seeking support from colleagues were all cited as ways to get more comfortable using qualitative research, and checklists and resources were also mentioned as useful aids (see below for list).

The discussion then turned to the opportunities and challenges involved in actually carrying out qualitative research. Some of challenges highlighted included the sheer amount of time involved in analysing the data and developing the skills to support participants to open up in interviews.

Involving clients with communication difficulties was also emphasised as an extremely important and worthwhile challenge. The somewhat 'undefined' nature of qualitative research seemed to present both a challenge and an opportunity with, for example 'conversation analysis' suggested as a qualitative tool for analysing naturally occurring social interactions.

Finally the Tweetchat was rounded off with a host of top tips for those wanting to get more involved with qualitative research. These included:
  • Collaborate with others both within and outside your profession
  • Speak to people already involved in qualitative research
  • Get qualitative training in the specific methods you are interested in
  • Read around different approaches
  • Make links via conferences, CENs and forums
  • Keep a reflective log
  • Choose your question and methodology carefully and let the themes emerge
In conclusion, as summarised by one of the tweeters "Don't think qualitative research is restricted to feelings, perceptions, meaning, or experiences - it can be used to explain why things do/don't work and for whom, and to unpack interventions".

You can find the link to the full transcript here and our Twitter stats here.

Save the date in your diary now for our next chat on Wednesday, 31st October, where the focus will be on treatment Intensity and its impact on therapeutic outcomes.

Resources for critically appraising qualitative research:

Monday, 17 September 2018

Scientific Conference: From research to practice - Across nursing, midwifery and health sciences

The date is finally here! This Thursday we are co-hosting our innovative conference event in Bochum, Germany (September 20th, 9.00am – 4.45pm UK time).

We hope as many of you as possible will join us online – on Twitter and Facebook.

This is a unique interdisciplinary and international event to promote applied clinical research across the NMAHP professions, and includes invited presentations from a wide range of our UCLan Faculty staff.

Video recording of all the speakers will be uploaded onto the dedicated webpage after the event, plus 15 dynamic e-posters featuring collaborative projects between our local clinical services and members of our Faculty.

There is an exclusive Facebook Group that will be live between 20th – 27th September, so please log in to add your own comments .

Please follow the conference on Twitter, remembering to use the hashtag #hsgBochumUCLan2018 and follow all the Twitter accounts in the image above.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Tweetchat: The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework - the Kempen pilot

The seventh #ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place on Wednesday, 25th July (7.30 – 8.30pm UK time).

The chat was hosted by Sally Pratten (@salpratten) and Lucy Talbot (@lucyjtalbot) and was based around this paper: The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework: the Kempen pilot.

You can find the paper summary and question prompts here.

This was a very busy chat where experienced practitioners exchanged insights and advice from a wide range of clinical settings. The full transcript of the discussions can be found via this link.

To see who took part in the chat you can find the link to the Tweetchat stats here.

Thanks to our chat hosts, and to everyone who took part. We're looking forward to our next #ReSNetSLT chat on the last Wednesday in September, after our summer break. Hope to see you then!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Brag and steal: Sharing stories of research and EBP at the RCSLT Research Champions workshop 2018

Thank you to Katie Chadd (@Katie_Chadd) for producing the latest ResNetSLT blog post.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists have an established network of SLTs who are committed to striving "to ensure that speech and language therapy is an evidence-based, research-active profession, bringing together research and clinical practice" which is achieved by working in partnership with the RCSLT and wider research networks.

The network celebrated its increase in strength and numbers (now 273 SLTs) and the remarkable achievements of our therapists at a workshop held in London in July.

Two core aims of the day were to provide therapists with the opportunity to:
  • Share good practice initiatives to support evidence based practice
  • Develop contacts within the network to support research and development work
The format of the day varied and we incorporated presentations, a panel session, group activities, invited guest speakers, lightning talks, a poster exhibition, and practical workshops.

The attendees consisted of therapists working for the NHS with a range of experience, those in independent practice, school based SLTs, researchers, lecturers and clinical academics.

The core learning points of the day were:
  • Network, network, network! - Having support from a number of individuals in invaluable in pursuing your interests in EBP and research. Collaborations can be successful on-the-ground (e.g. encouraging colleagues to contribute to a practice-based research project) and highly important in securing fellowships (e.g. getting on to the NIHR clinical academic pathway).
  • Make it routine- exploring and applying evidence and other research activities should be part of your clinical routine and be 'normalised' in your job role. Conversations can be had to build it into your CPD plan and schedule- it is possible!
  • Persevere - obtaining a balance in clinical and research work is difficult, and you will inevitably face challenges but pushing through them can lead to fantastic results. Some approaches to dealing with these could be- reward incentives, regular feedback on successes to those who may be opposing, and opening up communication with MDT and senior colleagues.
  • Listen - a core part of taking an evidence based approach is hearing other’s perspectives, whether this is regarding the basis of clinical intervention, or a research project. The patient or service user or participant perspective is crucial and must remain at the heart of your decisions. A successful EBP approach involves asking and not making assumptions.
Research champions tweeted lots of nuggets of advice throughout the day - you can search the hashtag #ResearchChampions2018 to find out more, and also see tweets from our main research twitter feed @RCSLTResearch.

RCSLT members will also be able to view the content from the day on the website in due course, and if you would like to find out more about becoming a research champion view the Research Centre page here.

Open access useful resources and papers mentioned during the day

Claire and Annette's blog on Evidently Cochrane: Research is better together.

Bornbaum, C. C. et al. (2015). Exploring the function and effectiveness of knowledge brokers as facilitators of knowledge translation in health-related settings: a systematic review and thematic analysis. Implementation Science, 10, 162.

Support network @ClinAcSLT.

Strategy for Clinical Research Careers for Non-Medical Professions by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.