The importance of research in childhood brain injury

This week we met with Lorna Wales, occupational therapist and research associate at The Children’s Trust. We often hear about new approaches and progression in helping children with brain injury but it's sometimes easy to overlook the research behind these advances. So talking with Lorna was a huge insight for us in getting a better understanding of research and realising the importance of the discipline. It was encouraging to hear Lorna explain the commitment The Children’s Trust’s research team -  led by Dr Carolyn Dunford - have in sharing their findings with other organisations and charities for the benefit of children with brain injury. By presenting at national and international conferences and visiting local clinical teams, Lorna and her colleagues discuss their findings and share ideas. And in addition, the research activity of the charity often relies in partnering with universities and other organisations for sharing the cost of such projects and more importantly for sharing expertise and research skills. It was interesting to hear that projects are a surprisingly lengthy process; not only do the results have to be accumulated over a significant amount of time, but all research has to be overseen by an ethical committee. Research ethics: In simple terms this means that the subjects of the research – in this case children and families – must be treated appropriately. They must give consent, have a right to privacy and researchers must be respectful to their needs and avoid unnecessary intrusion. And families don't have to engage. And if they don't participate, it won't affect that care they receive. The families and young people always have a choice. 

The Children’s Trust’s current research activity & values...


Working with partners to answer the big questions

  • Currently working on six projects
  • Partnering with universities In the UK, Ireland, USA and Australia
  • Collaborative projects to answer some of the big questions in children’s brain injury research.
 

Monitoring outcomes & clinical effectiveness

  • Four clinical-led projects 
  • Investigating specific interventions with a group of children who have received rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust
 

Asking the difficult questions

  • The team does  not steer away from researching the complex issues of childhood brain injury
 

Listening to children & families

  • Three current projects which demonstrate a commitment to working collaboratively with children and their familes
  • Using their thoughts and ideas to encourage and direct our research website design
 

Supporting post-graduate study

  • Further study for staff at The Children’s Study is seen as an opportunity to build our research capacity
  • Six staff members currently engaged in research through their studies
 
A huge thanks to Lorna for her insight into research. Watch this space for updates on current projects.  
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