#CLAHRCs @UKStrokeForum UKSF2016 @clahrc_nwc

CLAHRCs collaborating to bring local applied research to a national audience

A Blog by Professor Mark Gabbay, Director of CLAHRC NWC and Head of Department of Health Services Research at University of Liverpool.

It was quite fitting for Dr Rebecca Fisher to end her talk with a slide containing a quote from the movie Gladiator: “Whatever comes out of these gates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together, we survive. “

Not only was it representative of the spirit of collaboration on her own research project but also mirrored the collaborative efforts of the three CLAHRC projects which were presented to an enthusiastic audience at the UK Stroke Forum in Liverpool.

Privileged to be asked to Chair the event, I introduced the session posing the question CLAHRC: Will any of this change what happens for stroke survivors and their carers? Implementing evidence-based stroke care. 


CLAHRC East Midlands, CLAHRC North West Coast and CLAHRC Greater Manchester presented examples of their current applied research projects to an audience of stroke clinicians, allied health professionals, charity/support staff and stroke survivors.

Dr Rebecca Fisher is a Stroke Association HRH The Princess Margaret Senior Lecturer at University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on the implementation of evidence based stroke rehabilitation; addressing the gap between treatments shown to be effective in clinical trials and the care stroke survivors receive in practice. This particular presentation offered a clear insight into the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary team approach and subsequent effectiveness in delivering functionally orientated stroke rehabilitation. The parting message was that like the fictional Gladiator, collaborative working is synergistic.

Dr Emma Patchick, Research Associate for Greater Manchester CLAHRC Stroke Programme also outlined her research which aims to evaluate the value and process of using a revised-for-care-homes version of the Greater Manchester Stroke Assessment Tool (GM-SAT). This tool is freely available and identifies needs after a stroke and ensures patients don’t get lost and forgotten about when it’s applied comprehensively across an area, focusing resources where they are needed.

Finally, Dr Liz Lightbody, a Reader in the School of Nursing at the University of Central Lancashire and chair elect of the National Stroke Nursing Forum, outlined progress on the Accelerating Delivery of Psychological Therapies after Stroke (ADOPTS) project, research backed by CLAHRC NWC.

The key themes coming from these pitches was the collaboration being undertaken to deliver the applied research and the interaction with NHS staff and patients. This is where the unique structure of CLAHRCs made up of Partners across the health and social care sectors can really help provide researchers with the access they need to progress trials and other research. In addition, it is easier to identify methods for implementing research findings and in the ADOPTs study for example, psychological care pathways are being developed in conjunction with staff training so front-line staff can provide enhanced services to stroke survivors. This approach also tackles health inequalities which can often be overlooked in health systems.

A flurry of questions included queries from stroke survivors on the integration of their views during the research, and recovery plans, and the benefits of peer support after a stroke.

This proved to be a successful event for CLAHRCs to come together and showcase the power of applied research to benefit front-line care. The UK Stroke Forum Conference is the largest multidisciplinary stroke event in the UK, attracting over 1400 delegates from across the stroke care pathway.

CLAHRCs from across the country need  to demonstrate the willingness and enthusiasm needed to be on the agenda at similar events, for other clinical specialties, to ensure a wider yet captive audience is informed and engaged about the critical research work being undertaken.

A concept no doubt similar to the motivation behind Maximus Decimus Meridius’s quote from the Gladiator movie Dr Fisher alluded too.

Professor Mark Gabbay
Director, CLAHRC NWC

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