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C1O2 | Feasibility of recruitment and training of carers of people with dementia as a route to Cochrane-NHS engagement

Abstract text
Background
Relatives of people with dementia often want to participate in research, but their time is limited because of their caregiving role.

Objectives
The first, innovative part of the proposal is to recruit carers and former carers of people with dementia to a well-defined task: reading trial reports, extracting basic information, and entering it into the Dementia Group’s online register of studies - ALOIS.

The volunteers are also invited to work through a series of modules about EBM using examples, all directly related to dementia.

Methods
A range of publicity and outreach methods were used to recruit volunteers (see leaflet attached). Also an EBM skills workshop for carers was held in Oxford which was very well attended. We will conduct a before-and-after study where the participants’ skill at the coding task will be rated, and a questionnaire will be used to assess changes in involvement with dementia-related NHS activities, primary dementia research, and attitudes.

Results
At the project half-way point (see poster attached), we had recruited 35 volunteers (20 carers or former carers). We have now reached 40, and this has translated into 65 new study records being coded by new volunteers and published on ALOIS, and a further 70 studies currently assigned to volunteers for coding.

A slightly unexpected but welcome development is that schools are now interested in participating, and we are currently looking at how adapt the model for this purpose. We are also hopeful that the model might be further adapted as a Cochrane-wide "citizen science" initiative in conjunction with the development of the Cochrane Register of Studies.

Conclusion
Involving and training volunteer ‘expert carers’ in maintaining a trial register is feasible. We will explore whether the model can be adapted to bring wider benefits for public engagement with the NHS and participation in primary research.

Authors
Struthers C1, Noel-Storr A1, Marcus S1, McCleery J1, McShane R1
1 Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group, UK
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Caroline Struthers
Contact person: 
Caroline Struthers (Contact this person)
Attachments
Date and Location
Session: 
Oral session C1O2
Date: 
Thursday 20 October 2011 - 11:35 - 12:05