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This blog discusses a BSG funded small event held on the 31st of August 2017 within the School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery at the University of the West of Scotland’s (UWS) Hamilton Campus. The purpose of the event was:

  • To generate the interest of, and involve students in turning evidence into practice.
  • To involve older people in generating research ideas
  • To discuss mechanisms for turning later-life theory and research into practice more rapidly
  • To provide a networking opportunity for the University and it’s wider healthcare partners.

The difficulty of translating research findings into sustainable improvements in clinical outcomes that are of benefit remains a substantial obstacle to improving the quality of care. Morris, Wooding and Grant (2011) suggested that up to two decades may pass before the findings of original research becomes part of routine clinical practice. While a study by Kristensen et al (2015), exploring the experiences of healthcare professionals implementing research results in clinical practice, concluded that,

“…new research results are not transferred on a 1:1 basis from academia to practice. Instead, the applicability of research results must be locally evaluated, and new results must eventually be made actionable and utilisable, and adapted to local practice, in order to produce the desired outcome over time”.


About the Event

The event provided a forum where a number of staff working locally who have completed research studies into later life issues, had the opportunity to disseminate their work to a receptive local audience of practitioners, students and older people. NHS Lanarkshire like many health boards supports a number of nurses and allied health professionals to undertake later life Master’s level study. The research questions generated and subsequent research undertaken, as fulfilment for these degrees, normally derives from local clinical issues facing these practitioners in everyday practice. This event helped to provide an opportunity to discuss and evaluate the applicability of their findings and allow further consideration of actions to support their application in practice with local interested parties so that the time lag of translating that research could be reduced.

It also allowed students an opportunity to discuss, with practitioners and Masters level students, their experience of the research process, providing them with encouragement to become research active in this field. The involvement of local older people also helped to provide a service users’ perspective of the value of their findings and their impact on practice.


The Research Jam

The second part to the event we called a ‘Research Jam’. Having looked at some of the research undertaken locally recently the ‘Jam’ provided an opportunity to discuss future research that would be useful for NHS Lanarkshire’s Master’s Students to undertake in the future that could benefit the rest of the locality. Generating new research ideas which were created in partnership with older people living locally, healthcare practitioners and University staff has the potential to create research questions that applied locally that people wanted answered. It is hoped that by agreeing some priorities in this way will also help reduce the time-lag between seeking answers to the questions and the results changing practice.

The jam was conducted using a process and tool called Ketso. Ketso was developed to give every participant a ‘voice’, particularly those voices who were often silent, so it was considered ideal for this event where it was important that the older person’s ‘voice’ was heard. Ketso has been used worldwide to engage people to learn and be creative. It also encourages participants to think first, then speak, and finally organise their opinions and ideas into a coherent and very visual map.

If you want to find out more about Ketso go to: http://www.ketso.com/ You could also read more about its uses in Health and Social Care by visiting:  http://www.ketso.com/examples-case-studies/health-wellbeing

At the event 41 local people attended. There were four tables with a facilitator and groups of 10-11 people at each one. Each group was a mix of people from all the interested parties attending.



So What Did We Find Out?

 There is a need to see the older person’s viewpoint in any new research and a need to treat everyone involved as an individual.

 More investment is needed locally into education and training about older people’s issues and concerns and more investment is required to support research into:

  • Marginalised groups
  • Older people’s mental health and well-being
  • Frailty
  • Living and dying well
  • Avoiding social isolation and loneliness
  • Improving the effectiveness of community care and support
  • Widening access to better end of life/hospice care
  • Intergenerational working and intergenerational projects

 Greater commitment to investing and conducting research that explores the concerns of older people.

 There is a need to value qualitative and action research that captures the views and concerns of older people locally so that it is better supported and more frequently carried out.

 There is a need to do research with older people locally rather than on them.


Evaluation of the Experience

Generally, the day was found to be a useful way to encourage discussion and the Ketso process was a great way to capture the views of a diverse group of people whose only real link to each other was concern about the provision of health and social care to older people locally. The Ketso process seems a little intimidating at first encounter but it successfully generated a lot of ideas and views in quite a short period of time. The ‘Jam’ experience was enjoyed by all especially the informal and relaxed atmosphere created by all the attendees, which we thank them for.

 One final point: Discussing what needs to be done was helpful to all but actions need to follow.


Next Steps

The outcomes from the day have now been shared with Schools across the University and with all programme leaders hosting postgraduate research and Masters level programmes within UWS’s School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery. It has also been disseminated via NHS Lanarkshire Practice Development Team for circulation across the organisation. Opportunities for partnership proposal writing are now being considered.

The report has also been shared with all the Third sector agencies who participated and of course all the participants who contributed.

We are now looking forward to the BSG 4th. Annual Conference being held in Manchester in July 2018, where we hope to say more about the day and what has happened since.

Can we take this opportunity to thank all those who attended and made this day so worthwhile.


Authors and Event Organisers

F. J. Raymond Duffy Postgraduate Lecturer and Programme Leader for the MSc in Gerontology at UWS

Dr. Margaret Brown, Senior Lecturer and Depute Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice.

Dr. Kathleen Duffy then Senior Nurse for Practice Education in NHS Lanarkshire. (Dr. Duffy is now Head of Programme Practice Education (Nursing and Midwifery) with NHS Education for Scotland).



Kristensen N, Nymann C, Konradsen H., 2015 Implementing research results in clinical practice – the experiences of healthcare professionals. BMC Health Services Research, 16 (48), 1-10. (Open access) available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4748469/pdf/12913_2016_Article_1292.pdf

Morris, Z.S., Wooding, S. and Grant, J., 2011. The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 104(12), pp.510-520