The Top 10 research priorities for occupational therapy in the UK.
This week’s #OTalk is hosted by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT). On Monday 27th July 2020, the RCOT/James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership, which has been running over the past 19 months, culminated in the final workshop to agree the Top 10 research priorities for occupational therapy in the UK, which is the focus of this week’s #OTalk.
The chat will be co-hosted by @JoWatson22, @RCOT_Jenny and @DrGillianWard
Way back in June 2017, RCOT hosted a symposium to launch a Research and Development (R&D) Review, which involved a comprehensive review of all of RCOT’s R&D related activity. The primary outcome was the publication, last November, of the new RCOT Research and Development Strategy 2019-24. Throughout the many opportunities to engage with occupational therapists as part of the R&D Review, there was a resounding message highlighting the value of, and desire for, a revised statement of research priorities for occupational therapy in the UK.
In March 2019, we launched the RCOT/James Lind Alliance (JLA) occupational therapy priority setting partnership. The JLA is a non-profitmaking organisation whose infrastructure is funded by the National Institute for Health Research. It brings together patients, carers, healthcare professionals and the public in Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs), to identify and prioritise ‘uncertainties’ or ‘unanswered questions’ that they agree are most important in a particular area. The central focus of the JLA’s robust and high-profile methodology is on giving equal voice to professionals and those who access services and their carers, which resonates strongly with the fundamental person-centred philosophy of occupational therapy.
- 2000+ questions were submitted by 927 participants in our opening consultation survey, which ran between August and November in 2019.
- The PSP Information Specialist reviewed all of this data and developed overarching summary questions agreed by the Steering Group to capture the essence of the individually submitted questions they represented.
- The Information Specialist then reviewed the available research evidence to make a judgement about whether any of the questions had already been fully answered. None of them had.
- The initial prioritisation survey ran between February and May 2020. People with lived experience of occupational therapy services, occupational therapists themselves and others working alongside them, were asked to identify up to 10 of the long-list of 66 summary questions that they considered the most important for research to answer.
- Using the data from the second survey, we were able to calculate the rank of each of the 66 questions according to respondents with lived experience of occupational therapy services and according to those with a professional perspective.
- With a clear difference between the questions prioritised by the two groups, the Steering Group took the decision to ensure that the 10 top-ranked summary questions identified by each group were included in the short-list of 18 questions that was developed (there being a small degree of overlap between the two groups).
On Monday 27th July 2020, we held the final priority setting workshop which bought together ten occupational therapists and ten people with experience of accessing occupational therapy services or their carers, to work collaboratively to consider the short-list of 18 summary questions and agree the Top 10 research priorities for occupational therapy in the UK.
RCOT will be officially announcing the Top 10 on Thursday 30th July. From that date, you will be able to access the Top 10 here.
Each priority is best thought of as a summary question within which there might be multiple research question focused on an array of practice areas and contexts, and addressing an array of specific issues and uncertainties.
The questions forming the basis of the #OTalk discussion are:
- What are your initial thoughts about and reactions to the Top 10?
- How might they apply to your area of practice?
- What might you do to help begin to address the priorities?
- As part of informing our next steps, what might RCOT do to support you to take the actions you’ve identified?
The new Top 10 priorities set the research agenda for occupational therapy in the future and will help to focus attention on addressing the unanswered questions that matter most to people accessing and delivering occupational therapy services. We very much look forward to hearing your thoughts.