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Involving Service Users and Clinicians to Identify Research Uncertainties of Preterm Birth: the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership

Date and Location




Sunday 22 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Seilin Uhm

Contact person

Seilin Uhm
Sandy Oliver
Abstract text
Background/Objectives: Preterm infants have immature internal organs and often need help with breathing, feeding, and other life support. Those who survive may suffer ill health or disability in childhood, which could potentially continue to adulthood. Even modest improvement for these infants and their families would be important. We aimed involving service users and clinicians to identify and prioritise uncertainties that are of greatest importance to them. Methods: This research adapted a mixed-method approach developed by the James Lind Alliance to establish Priority Setting Partnerships. We recruited 44 clinical and service users’ organisations across UK and Ireland from April 2011 and formed a Steering Group. Online surveys were conducted from March to February 2013, with paper-based survey at UK hospitals(December 2012). Results: Results: 1,103 participants started the survey, while 371 of them(service users: 57%, clinicians: 30% and both 12%) suggested 654 research uncertainties. We received feedback from clinicians of various specialities(neonatologist: 28%, nurse: 25%. obstetrician: 18%, midwife: 12% and others 10%). Most service user respondents were white British and middle class. Service users asked about aetiologies, interventions and outcomes for pre-pregnancy(12), antenatal(42), perinatal(18), postnatal(58) and other(20), revealing interests in a broad range of issues surrounding preterm birth. Priorities of the identified uncertainties will be set by consensus development meetings and voting. Conclusions: Preterm birth is a highly technical and emotive topic. This study has shown service users’ and clinicians’ willingness to participate in furthering the research agenda and their desire for greater understanding and knowledge. Responses ranged from pre-pregnancy education to childhood interventions, highlighting the importance of continuity and duration of care for preterm infants. Finding ways of providing emotional and practical support to mothers and families was also frequently expressed. Furthermore, this study also showed need to engage service users from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds with setting research agendas.