Staff and students from the University of Cumbria’s Active Ageing Research Group are working with the medical staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals to help develop a new, simple frailty assessment tool to be used with renal patients.
The collaboration has seen associate professor in sport and exercise diomechanics Theo Bampouras work alongside Dr Andy Nixon from the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The collaboration stemmed from an exercise in dialysis project at the Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal (see http://bit.ly/2qHhofs.)
“The current project is an evaluation of a simple point of care frailty assessment tool for use in chronic kidney disease and we are responsible for the conducting the physical tests battery needed for frailty assessment,” Theo said. ”We are assisting Dr Nixon by conducting physical evaluation frailty tests on renal patients as part of a larger frailty assessment project he runs. The project further strengthens the links the University of Cumbria has with Royal Preston Hospital, increasing collaborative research that will benefit the patients and offering students the opportunity to work in a clinical environment gaining valuable, ‘real life’ experience for their future careers.”
Two second year Sport and Exercise Science students were recruited to take part gaining practical experience. The main aim of their work is to conduct the physical battery of tests required for frailty assessment, in a methodologically sound way while working with vulnerable patients.
“I enhanced my communication skills giving instructions and demonstrating tests to the participants,” Atinuke Janet Afolabi, one of the two students said. ”Listening to the participants enabled me to observe any discomfort that they may experience during the different tests.”
For colleague Alastair Petrie, the project was particularly rewarding: “This project allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge from my undergraduate studies to a real clinical setting, and has given me valuable experience in data collection and increased my knowledge of various physical assessments that I would not have come across within my lectures.”
The project is still in its infancy but both organisations hope lessons learned here will be shared widely and help patients further.
“We are always striving to improve the care that we provide our patients and research is integral in reaching this goal,” Dr Andrew Nixon, Clinical Fellow in Renal Medicine Affiliation, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said.” Literature to date has demonstrated that frailty is highly prevalent in those with advanced chronic kidney disease and that frailty is associated with poor clinical outcomes, including mortality. The aim of our study is to better understand how to identify frailty in a way that is practicable and applicable to everyday clinical care. We hope that by doing so we can more easily recognise vulnerable patients who are in need of additional support at an earlier stage in their frailty trajectory. The collaboration with The University of Cumbria has been fundamental to the success of this study. The expertise that the Active Ageing Research Group provides, particularly with regards to the assessment of physical frailty, has been invaluable. We greatly appreciate the partnership with The University of Cumbria and hope to develop this further with future collaborative projects.”
Meanwhile on May 19, as part of International Clinical Trials Day (#ICTD17) specialist bikes used by renal patients will be used by staff at the Royal Preston who have set themselves the challenge of cycling the distance between all the other clinical research facilities in the North of England (approximately 400 miles) using a series of static bikes loaned by the University of Cumbria.