RCSI researchers win HRB funding to improve evidence briefs for GPs and healthcare for those with cerebral palsy

  • Research

Two RCSI researchers have been awarded funding from the Health Research Board (HRB). The research projects aim to improve care for those with cerebral palsy and to help GPs make decisions based on the most recent, high-quality evidence.

The first research project will look at international evidence and Irish experiences to improve transition care for young people with cerebral palsy as they move to adult health services.

Although cerebral palsy was historically considered a paediatric condition, the majority of children with cerebral palsy now survive into adulthood and many adults with cerebral palsy have a near normal life expectancy.

Despite this, there is still a need to create a clear clinical pathway for adults with cerebral palsy, meaning many lack access to a multidisciplinary support team to manage their condition.

“This project will identify ways to make the experience of transitioning to adult health services easier for young people with cerebral palsy (CP) in Ireland,” said Dr Jennifer Ryan, RCSI StAR Research Lecturer and the Principal Investigator on the project.

“We will do this by examining peoples’ experience of the Irish healthcare system, comparing this to international best practice standards for transition care, and working with young people with CP, their families and professionals to co-design useful resources and information to improve transition care in Ireland.”

The second project will look at how to improve the information that GPs use to make decisions. In order to give the most up-to-date information, GPs use Quick Reference Guides, which the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) produce.

“In partnership with the ICGP, we plan to investigate every aspect of this process, from what's the best way to go about selecting topics for evidence briefs in the first instance to how we present this information to doctors. We will survey GPs to find out what level of detail they want and how to they want to receive this information. We want to make the information as accessible as possible,” said Dr Emma Wallace, GP, Senior Lecturer in General Practice at RCSI and Principal Investigator for this study.

These projects are two of six new Applied Partnership Award projects that the HRB is supporting. The Applied Partnership Awards are designed to bring knowledge users and academic researchers together to develop research projects that address a specific and short-term need within the Irish health or social care system.

“We are honoured to make up a third of the Applied Partnership Award projects from the HRB. These research projects embody the ultimate goal of RCSI research – bringing evidence-based approaches into clinical settings for the benefit of patients,” said Professor Fergal O’Brien, Director of Research and Innovation at RCSI.