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A project to qualitatively evaluate an exercise programme for wheelchair users with MS: an opportunity for clinically-based student research?

By Claudia Galante, Catherine Bulley and Julie Hooper


This presentation will describe a clinical/academic research collaboration via each team member’s project ‘journey’. \ud A programme of monthly exercise classes, intended to facilitate maintenance of physical function of wheelchair-dependent people with MS, was developed and piloted by Julie Hooper at an out-patients physiotherapy gym. The MS Society Edinburgh branch part-funded the classes. \ud Formal independent evaluation of the pilot programme was required. A focus group study to explore the six participants’ experiences was proposed and registered with NHS Lothian R&D by Julie Hooper. Discussion between her and Cathy Bulley highlighted the possibility of the study being carried out as a supervised student project, both to provide necessary evaluation rigour and offer the opportunity for a student to gain qualititative research skills in a clinical environment. Claudia Galante conducted the focus group and wrote up the results for her dissertation. \ud Key findings demonstrated the strong desire of the group to be more physically active, and multiple benefits to their quality-of-life. Dissemination of the findings is underway to help inform future service provision for this population. \ud This project represented a very successful pilot of clinically-based dissertations that benefitted all parties; more such collaborations are now being planned

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