Dr Elizabeth Tyler: Developing and evaluating a psychological therapy for older adults with bipolar disorder
Dr Elizabeth Tyler, a clinical psychologist based at the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health at Lancaster University has recently been awarded a NIHR Doctoral Fellowship.
The research will focus on developing and testing out a recovery focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) intervention for older adults with bipolar disorder (BD).
BD is a severe and chronic mental health problem that persists into older adulthood. Current estimates suggest around 0.5 per cent of people over 65 years of age are living with BD (Depp and Jeste, 2004). However this figure is set to rise as the UK experiences a rapid ageing of its population (United Nations, 2002). The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for BD, 2006, highlight the absence of evidence for older adults with regards to psychosocial interventions and there are currently no published randomised controlled trials (RCT) studies evaluating psychosocial interventions for later life bipolar disorder.
The RDS NW were able to help Elizabeth in a number of areas including: trial design, mental health advice, structuring and writing the proposal and helping to review the application form.
RDS NW also carried out a mock interview which was found to be incredibly useful. It provided the opportunity to review the project with a number of academics who did not specialise in the area.
Dr Angharad Care: Three arm Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial to investigate the impact of progesterone vs. Arabin pessary vs. cerclage in high risk women with a short cervix to prevent pre-term birth
Dr Angharad Care and team from the Liverpool Womens NHS Foundation Trust were successful in obtaining NIHR Research for Patient Benefit(RfPB) of nearly £195000 following advice from RDS NW.
The study was a three arm controlled trial using three different treatments to control and prevent early pre-term labour in pregnancy.
Dr Care approached the RDS NW requesting advice on formulating her research question, structuring the proposal, qualitative aspects of the proposal and trial design.
The RDS NW provided advice on these areas but also identified other areas in which the proposal could be strengthened.
Dr Care needed to strengthen her team and RDS NW advised her to include clinicians, a
statistician, a health economist, a lay applicant, research midwives and a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU). There was also a need to involve the Trust R&D department and the Clinical Research Network (CRN) to help with staff support costs and general administration of the application.
Dr Care was advised to strengthen the ‘need for the research’ element of the proposal, giving an idea of national incidence and prevalence rates, an outline of NHS and maternal/neonatal costs and how much the work could benefit both NHS and women themselves. A high patient benefit trajectory also needed to be underlined, which is
particularly important for a RfPB application.
Dr Care was asked what she found useful about the service, she responded,
“My RDS NW adviser, Dr Anne Rannard, was helpful from the start. In addition to critiquing the application she helped plan my timeline up to the deadline for the application and gave me realistic expectations of how long it would take me to get e.g. clinical trials unit involvement for my project and additionally helped me develop the PPI aspect of the project.”
Dr Anton Krige: A randomised controlled trial of thoracic epidural analgesia versus rectus sheath catheters for open midline incisions in major abdominal surgery within an Enhanced Recovery Program (TERSC)
Dr Anton Krige, a Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia as well as the Clinical lead for the Enhanced Recovery Programs at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, has a particular interest in providing good pain relief to patients after major surgery so that patients can recover quickly and avoid post-operative complications.
Dr Krige approached the RDS NW for advice on how to develop his research idea of comparing the most common approach of pain relief – epidural, and another approach – Rectus Sheath Catheters (RSCs). Epidurals, which use a fine tube being placed in the spine through which local anaesthetic is given, numbing the nerve supply to the abdomen and controlling the pain, can be very effective but they do have a number of possible side effects including common side effects such as headaches and low blood pressure as well as very rare side effects such as nerve injury.
Many of the side effects associated with epidurals do not apply to rectus sheath catheters and this may confer an advantage. However, no formal research had been conducted and so it is not known for sure which technique results in the best pain relief with the least side effects. This is the question that the TERSC research study aims to answer.
Dr Krige approached the RDS NW for general advice on how to apply for the RfPB programme and was allocated an adviser who initially explored the options for the appropriate research study design to develop to answer Dr Krige’s research questions. The adviser brought on board other methodological advisers as required in clinical trial design, qualitative methods and health economics.
Dr Krige and his team attended a dedicated advice support programme organised by the RDS NW for applicants to the RfPB programme.
The RDS NW also provided advice on how to develop the proposal further with PPI and these activities were supported by the RDS NW PPI bursary to facilitate the bringing together of past patients who had undergone such surgery in the past to advise on the most appropriate design and study materials ahead of a submission for RfPB funding.
Some of these patients have since agreed to stay with the project by being involved in managing and delivering the study now that patients are being recruited into the TERSC study.
This is the first research grant that Dr Krige has been awarded in his role as a hospital consultant.
The RDS NW were able to recommend other research methodologists who may be interested in supporting the application for funding and becoming co-applicants.