This engaging session presented by Dr Jennifer Wenborn and Jane Burgess from the Valuing Active Life in Dementia (VALID) research team provided insights into the teams achievements during the development and delivery of this monumental clinical trial.
To introduce the session Jennifer outlined the aims of the VALID Programme which are to:
‘adapt, develop, evaluate and implement an occupation based intervention to promote independence, meaningful activity and quality of life for people with dementia and their family carers living in the community’.
Jennifer informed us that VALID is the largest randomised controlled trial of Occupational Therapy to have taken place within the UK with 468 dyads (a dyad is a person with dementia and their family carer) recruited to the trial across 15 sites in England. Jennifer went on to highlight the screening and consent process which ensured that all of the participants met the eligibility criteria which included having capacity to consent upon entry to the trial.
Jane then explained that her role was to supervise and train all of the occupational therapists delivering the Community Occupational Therapy in Dementia (COTiD-UK) intervention. She emphasised the importance of providing standardised training to support the fidelity of the occupational therapy provision. Jane then described the component parts of COTiD-UK taking us through the assessment process, goal setting and the types of activities facilitated as part of the intervention. She went on to explain that the final session was used to evaluate and celebrate the dyads achievements.
Jane then shared some of the feedback from participating occupational therapists. What particularly resonated was their delight at being able to focus upon delivering pure occupational therapy and having the time to gain a deeper understanding of their dyads needs and goals.
I have a personal affinity with the VALID project as I was fortunate to lead the delivery of the trial at Devon Partnership Trust and to carry out the COTiD-UK intervention. I am passionate about using this blog to stress the significance of the VALID programme for occupational therapy. Already the trial has been recognised for its attainments with Jennifer receiving a Fellowship from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) for her contribution to occupational therapy practice and research for her involvement in the trial.
It was deeply rewarding to hear Jennifer and Jane discussing the wider impacts of a clinical trial that I had contributed to. I felt privileged to be present to hear the preliminary results which are literally hot off the press and I feel sure that they will inspire occupational therapists in their future research endeavours.
Jennifer and Jane advised that I would be unable to share the preliminary results within this blog as the team plan to inform all of the research delivery sites of the results first. So for those of you waiting in anticipation you will have to wait a little longer! The results will be available in full later this summer.
What had real impact today are the challenges involved in delivering and analysing the components of a complex intervention and the importance of identifying outcome measures that capture real change. As an occupational therapist in my early research career I have reflected with admiration upon the accomplishments of this trial and wonder where the learning from it will take our profession next!
Written by Faye Dunford. Find me on Twitter @FayeDunford