Traditionally, participants are recruited to hospital studies from respiratory clinics, hospital admissions and MDT recommendations; however this leaves thousands of potential participants who are unaware of research. Unwell inpatients are typically not appropriate to take part in research studies, and often not inclined to discuss taking part in research in the future.
We have a suite of large studies where recruitment is challenging and we have had to rethink the way we recruit participants in order to reach our targets.
We collaborated with colleagues in relevant clinical teams and attended their outpatient clinics. Although we had the opportunity to speak to more people about research, the numbers were small. We therefore developed a local strategic plan to target as many different organisations and groups to provide access to a variety of participants with various respiratory conditions. We promoted respiratory research and recruited from:
1. GP practice staff – attended practice team and Practice Manager Meetings.
2. Engaged with staff throughout the hospital, from porters to the postal room, from HR to HSDU
3. Patient Research Ambassadors
a. Connections with other groups such as patient experience groups, the Women’s Institute, and the Blind Association
4. Local Pulmonary rehab, living well and BreatheEasy groups
5. Local schools, University students and lecturers
6. Respiratory groups e.g. PCRS Journal club
7. Stands in shopping centres
8. Wessex AHSN and CRN
9. Community Pharmacy, CCG and clusters meetings
This resulted in improved communication, trust, awareness of Respiratory research and enhanced the spread and sustainability of research. It also had an added bonus of improving ongoing education for local organisations, and improved relationships with the research team.
By establishing these connections, we now work closely with these groups and contribute to events within the local community, making research something for the many, not just the few.