Priorities for research in therapy professions for Northern Ireland
A study by the University of Ulster, funded by Health and Social Care Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency, enabled members of six Allied Health Professions (AHPs) to express opinions on research needs within their areas of expertise.
The respondents to ‘A Delphi Study to Identify Research Priorities for the Therapy Professions in Northern Ireland’, were selected from professionals based in clinical and academic settings in the areas of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, podiatry, nutrition and dietetics and orthoptics. The views of a group of key stakeholders in health and social care and a separate panel of service users were also gathered.
The responses were not modified and it is evident that existing research appears to have been overlooked. This is likely to be a sign that the transfer of research findings into practice has not been particularly effective, and suggests that knowledge transfer itself is the greatest need in these research areas.
The study report is intended for use by researchers within the AHPs and by other health and social care professionals, to identify areas where opportunities exist, not only to generate new research findings, but to take forward the transfer of valuable research knowledge into practice or policy. Usually this is best achieved by working in partnership with the relevant service commissioning leads.
The study could also serve as a template for the AHP family to plan a vision for how research undertaken in the future within their professions, should be supported and developed.
It is essential that the priorities identified in this study are coordinated with those of other professions and Health and Social Care as a whole to identify new and innovative models of care that recognise and cater directly for the needs of service users. This would help to fulfil the aim, detailed in the AHP strategy, of keeping the service user at the centre of practice, developing better and more effective services for the delivery of health and social care. Through research and knowledge transfer those services can be based upon the most up-to-date knowledge.
Acknowledging the vital role played by the AHPs in the delivery of health and social care services, Health and Social Care Research and Development Division would recommend this document as a key reference for all health and social care professionals.
The Delphi technique gathers respondents’ views and seeks consensus among the responses. This is contained in the subsequent report.
A copy of 'A Delphi Study to Identify Research Priorities for the Therapy Professions in Northern Ireland’ and its Executive Summary, can be obtaned by clicking here.