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Physios need to shape fragility fracture research

10 February 2017 - 11:59am

Researchers at the University of Warwick have opened a window of opportunity for physiotherapists to influence future investigations into fragility fractures in people over 60.

Call for physios to shape research into fragility fractures care

Dr Kearney: It’s vital that the voice of physiotherapy is heard

They want to know which top three questions physiotherapists would like answered by future research studies.

These could be about any aspect of treating fragility fractures. Pain relief and preventing falls are examples.

‘We have never had a randomised controlled trial about rehabilitation,’ said Rebecca Kearney, associate professor at Warwick’s clinical trials unit and a CSP member.

‘One of the biggest reasons for this is a feeling it’s just too difficult, our interventions are too complex, but that is for researchers to worry about.

‘We just need people to say what questions they think are important to them and their patients. We’ll figure out the rest.’

The university’s team has created a short survey designed to gather information from physiotherapists, other clinicians, patients and members of the public.

The survey – which was launched in January and will be open until May – takes about five minutes to complete. It is available online and is being flagged up in outpatient and other hospital departments and GP surgeries.

‘It’s really important that physiotherapy is up there as one of the research priorities so that we can push the agenda for physiotherapy research,’ said Dr Kearney.

Work to set the priorities for the research will take 18 months. Having spent six months designing the survey, Dr Kearney and her colleagues are now promoting it. After May they will analyse and disseminate the results.

But the main aim is to present the priorities that emerge from the survey to funding body, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The organisation will assess these before making a call for researchers to investigate how the treatment of older people with fragility fractures can be improved.

Dr Kearney’s career with Warwick University spans 10 years and since January she has been working on a £1 million NIHR-backed randomised controlled trial into ankle fracture.

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