CATCH Members Laura Di Bona, Jennifer Wenborn, Becky Fields and Gail Mountain, along with colleagues have published a paper in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy entitled ‘Enablers and challenges to occupational therapists’ research engagement: A qualitative study’
To develop occupational therapy’s evidence base and improve its clinical outcomes, occupational therapists must increase their research involvement. Barriers to research consumption and leadership are well documented, but those relating to delivering research interventions, less so. Yet, interventions need to be researched within practice to demonstrate their clinical effectiveness. This study aims to improve understanding of challenges and enablers experienced by occupational therapists who deliver interventions within research programmes.
Twenty-eight occupational therapists who participated in the Valuing Active Life in Dementia (VALID) research programme reported their experiences in five focus groups. Data were analysed thematically to identify key and subthemes.
Our paper finds that Occupational therapists reported that overwhelming paperwork, use of videos, recruitment and introducing a new intervention challenged their research involvement, whereas support, protected time and a positive attitude enabled it. The impact of these challenges and enablers varied between therapists and organisations.
The study concludes that challenges and enablers to research involvement can be identified but must be addressed within individual and organisational contexts. Multifaceted collective action to minimise challenges and maximise enablers can facilitate clinicians’ involvement in research. Using this approach should enable occupational therapists to increase their research involvement, thus demonstrating the clinical effectiveness of their interventions.
The full paper can be accessed here