• A qualitative study of healthcare professionals’ experiences of providing maternity services for Muslim women in the UK

      Hassan, Shaima Mohamed; Leavey, Conan; Rooney, Jane S.; Puthussery, Shuby (Biomed Central, 2020-07-10)
      Background: A growing Muslim population in the UK suggests the need for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to gain a better understanding of how the Islamic faith influences health related perceptions and healthcare seeking behaviour. Although some researchers have explored the experiences of Muslim women as recipients of healthcare, little attention has been paid to the challenges HCPs face as service providers on a day-to-day basis whilst caring for Muslim women. The aim of this study was to investigate HPCs lived experiences of providing maternity care for Muslim women. Method: Data was collected through twelve semi-structured one-to-one qualitative interviews with HCPs in a large National Health Service (NHS) maternity unit located in the North West of England. Interview participants included Community and specialist clinic (e.g. clinic for non-English speakers), Midwives in a variety of specialist roles (7), Gynaecology Nurses (2), Breastfeeding Support Workers (2) and a Sonographer (1). The audio-recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: The majority of participants expressed an understanding of some religious values and practices related to Muslim women, such as fasting the month of Ramadhan and that pregnant and breastfeeding women are exempt from this. However, HCPs articulated the challenges they faced when dealing with certain religious values and practices, and how they tried to respond to Muslim women’s specific needs. Emerging themes included: 1) HCPs perceptions about Muslim women; 2) HCPs understanding and awareness of religious practices; 3) HCPs approaches in addressing and supporting Muslim women’s religious needs; 4) Importance of training in providing culturally and religiously appropriate woman-centred care. Conclusion: Through this study we gained insight into the day-to-day experiences of HCPs providing care provision for Muslim women. HCPs showed an understanding of the importance of religious and cultural practices in addressing the needs of Muslim women as part of their role as maternity care providers. However, they also identified a need to develop training programmes that focus on cultural and religious practices and their impact on women’s health care needs. This will help support HCPs in overcoming the challenges faced when dealing with needs of women from different backgrounds.
    • Impact of Covid-19 on the experiences of parents and family carers of autistic children and young people in the UK

      Pavlopoulou, Georgia; Wood, Rebecca; Papadopoulos, Chris; UCL Institute of Education; University of East London; University of Bedfordshire (UCL Institute of Education, 2020-07-01)
      A new study led by the Institute of Education at University College London, in collaboration with the University of East London and the University of Bedfordshire, has shed light on the experiences of the parents and carers of autistic children and young people during lockdown in the UK. The findings reveal that many families feel let down by the government and that they have had to face the lockdown tackling new struggles, often with significantly reduced support. However, parents and carers also experienced a number of positives, providing important lessons for support and health services and education providers in the future.
    • Factors in implementation of clinical commissioning policy in improving health and wellbeing and/or reducing health inequalities in the English NHS: a systematic review of the evidence

      Regmi, Krishna; Mudyarabikwa, Oliver; University of Bedfordshire; Coventry University (Research Square, 2020-06-25)
      This is a preprint. Preprints are preliminary reports that have not undergone peer review. They should not be considered conclusive, used to inform clinical practice, or referenced by the media as validated information. Objective: This study aimed to identify and synthesise the factors in implementing clinical commissioning policy in improving health and/or reducing health inequalities in the English NHS. Methods: Systematic review was conducted. We searched Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Allied & Complementary Medicine, DH-DATA, Global Health and CINAHL for primary studies that assessed the enablers and barriers, and reported in accordance with PRISMA statement. Methodological quality was appraised using JBI Critical Appraisal tools and Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool [MMAT] to assess the methodological qualities, and synthesised performing thematic analysis. Two reviewers independently screened the papers and extracted data. Results: We included six primary studies (including a total of 1155 participants) in the final review. The studies reported two broad categories, under four separate themes: agenda of health inequalities not fully addressed; poor evidence for reducing health inequalities; reform through restructuring of organisations, and strategic approaches. Conclusion: This study provides useful factors – enablers and barriers – to implement and deliver clinical commissioning policy in improving health and wellbeing. These factors could be assessed in future to develop objective measures and interventions to establish the link between commissioning and health inequalities improving equitable access, health outcomes and effective partnerships.
    • Factors impacting social distancing measures for preventing coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]: a systematic review

      Regmi, Krishna; Lwin, Cho Mar (Research Square, 2020-06-23)
      This is a preprint. Preprints are preliminary reports that have not undergone peer review. They should not be considered conclusive, used to inform clinical practice, or referenced by the media as validated information. Background: Social distancing measures (SDMs) protect the health of the public from coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) infection. However, the impact of SDMs has been inconsistent and unclear. This study aims to review the factors impacting SDMs (e.g. isolation, quarantine) for reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Methods: A systematic review was conducted. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Allied & Complementary Medicine, COVID-19 Research and WHO database on COVID-19 for primary studies assessing the enablers and barriers associated with SDMs, and reported in accordance with PRISMA statement. We used JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for the cross-sectional survey and Qualitative Research to assess the methodological qualities and synthesised performing thematic analysis. Two reviewers independently screened the papers and extracted data. Results: A total of 1235 citations were identified, of which 16 were found to be relevant. The studies reported in two broad categories, under seven separate themes: positive impact of SDMs, effective public health interventions, positive change in people’s behaviour, worries and concerns about COVID-19, roles of mass media, physical and psychological impacts, and ethnicity/age associated with COVID-19. Conclusion: The identified evidence signals that SDMs are generally effective for preventing or reducing transmission. There is a scope and need to find the best methods and approaches at the primary healthcare level in terms of developing objective measures and interventions to establish the link between different factors and SDMs and reducing transmission of COVID-19 trend effectively, efficiently and equitably.
    • An economic–business approach to clinical risk management

      Comite, Ubaldo; Dong, Kechen; Li, Rita Yi Man; Crabbe, M. James C.; Shao, Xue-Feng; Yue, Xiao-Guang; University Giustino Fortunato; University of South Australia; Hong Kong Shue Yan University; Oxford University; et al. (MDPI, 2020-06-23)
      This paper introduces risk factors in the field of healthcare and discusses the clinical risks, identification, risk management methods, and tools as well as the analysis of specific situations. Based on documentary analysis, an ecient and coherent methodological choice of an informative and non-interpretative approach, it relies on “unobtrusive” and “non-reactive” information sources, such that the research results are not influenced by the research process itself. To ensure objective and systematical analysis, our research involved three macro-phases: (a) the first involved a skimming (a superficial examination) of the documents collected; (b) the second reading (a thorough examination) allowed a selection of useful information; (c) the third phase involved classification and evaluation of the collected data. This iterative process combined the elements of content and thematic analysis that categorised the information into di erent categories which were related to the central issues for research purposes. Finally, from the perspective of safety analysis and risk management, we suggest that comprehensive control and operation should be conducted in a holistic way, including patient safety, cost consumption, and organizational responsibility. An organizational strategy that revolves around a constant and gradual risk management process is an important factor in clinical governance which focuses on the safety of patients, operators, and organizations.
    • Impact of social distancing measures for preventing coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol

      Regmi, Krishna; Lwin, Cho Mar (medRxiv, 2020-06-16)
      This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice. Introduction: Social distancing measures (SDMs) protect public health from the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the impact of SDMs has been inconsistent and unclear. This study aims to assess the effects of SDMs (e.g. isolation, quarantine) for reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Methods and analysis: We will conduct a systematic review meta-analysis research of both randomised controlled trials and non-randomised controlled trials. We will search MEDLINE, EMBASE, Allied & Complementary Medicine, COVID-19 Research and WHO database on COVID-19 for primary studies assessing the enablers and barriers associated with SDMs, and will be reported in accordance with PRISMA statement. The PRISMA-P checklist will be used while preparing this protocol. We will use Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines (JBI Critical Appraisal Checklists) to assess the methodological qualities and synthesised performing thematic analysis. Two reviewers will independently screen the papers and extracted data. If sufficient data are available, the random-effects model for meta-analysis will be performed to measure the effect size of SDMs or the strengths of relationships. To assess the heterogeneity of effects, I2 together with the observed effects (Q-value, with degrees of freedom) will be used to provide the true effects in the analysis. Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval and consent will not be required for this systematic review of the literature as it does not involve human participation. We will be able to disseminate the study findings using the following strategies: we will be publishing at least one paper in peer-reviewed journals, and an abstract will be presented at suitable national/international conferences or workshops. We will also share important information with public health authorities as well as with the World Health Organization.
    • Personalised adherence support for maintenance treatment of inflammatory bowel disease: a tailored digital intervention to change adherence-related beliefs and barriers

      Chapman, Sarah; Sibelli, Alice; St-Clair Jones, Anja; Forbes, Alastair; Chater, Angel M.; Horne, Robert; UCL School of Pharmacy; University of Bath; King’s College London; Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2020-05-07)
      Background and aims: Interventions to improve adherence to medication may be more effective if tailored to the individual, addressing adherence-related beliefs about treatment and overcoming practical barriers to daily use. We evaluated whether an algorithm tailoring support to address perceptual and practical barriers to adherence reduced barriers and was acceptable to patients with IBD. Methods: Participants with IBD, prescribed azathioprine and/or mesalazine were recruited via patient groups, social media and hospital clinics and allocated to Intervention or Control Groups. The online intervention comprised messages tailored to address beliefs about IBD and maintenance treatment and provide advice on overcoming practical difficulties with taking regular medication. The content was personalised to address specific perceptual and practical barriers identified by a pre-screening tool. Validated questionnaires assessed barriers to adherence and related secondary outcomes at baseline, one and three months of follow-up. Results: 329 participants were allocated to the Intervention (n=153) and Control (n=176) Groups; just under half (46.2%) completed follow-up. At one and three months the Intervention Group had significantly fewer concerns about IBD medication (p≤.01); and, at three months only, fewer doubts about treatment need, fewer reported practical barriers and lower nonadherence (p<.05). Relative to controls at follow-up, the Intervention Group were more satisfied with information about IBD medicines, and viewed pharmaceuticals in general more positively. Questionnaires, interviews and intervention usage indicated the intervention was acceptable. Conclusions: Personalised adherence support using a digital algorithm can help patients overcome perceptual (doubts about treatment necessity and medication concerns) and practical barriers to adherence.
    • Capturing debriefing and enhancing reflection within simulated clinical learning environments

      Wareing, Mark; England, Jacqueline A.; Mathew, David; Ball, Carla; Willetts, Amanda; Kemp, Jane; Clifford, Kelly; Thompson, Andrea; Dove, Ian; Adams, Louise; et al. (National Association of Educators in Practice, 2020-05-05)
      This article presents findings from an evaluation of a new A3-size learner notes sheet designed for use by healthcare students engaging in clinical simulation and clinical skills sessions. The notes sheet consists of an adapted form of the SBAR (situation, background, assessment, response) tool, whilst capturing post-simulation oral debriefing provided by a facilitator. Additionally, the Driscoll (2007) model is used to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their engagement in clinical simulation. Two cohorts of students, who engaged in separate simulation sessions, completed the A3 sheet. The study featured 33 midwifery and 21 operating department practitioner (ODP) students undertaking a simulation. Documentary analysis was undertaken to identify the depth of reflective writing of both groups of students. Midwifery student participants reflected on their experiences of simulation at a slightly deeper level than their ODP counterparts. All students adhered to the structure of the notes sheet when receiving their briefing from the facilitator and when asked to write their reflective accounts. This study has sought to explore an under-researched area of clinical simulation: the extent to which healthcare students can utilise reflection when engaging with a clinical scenario within a simulated learning environment.
    • Qualitative investigation of the flipped classroom teaching approach as an alternative to the traditional lecture

      Abdulaziz Almanasef, M.; Chater, Angel M.; Portlock, Jane (International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), 2020-04-25)
    • Protecting and testing-more to be learned from Ebola

      Maytum, Robin; (BMJ Publishing Group: BMJ, 2020-04-24)
    • SOLACE: a psychosocial stigma protection intervention to improve the mental health of parents of autistic children: a feasibility randomised controlled trial

      Lodder, Annemarie; Papadopoulos, Chris; Randhawa, Gurch (Springer, 2020-04-23)
      This study presents findings from a feasibility trial, testing an 8-week psychosocial stigma protection intervention (SOLACE) designed to improve the mental health of parents of autistic children. Seventeen parents were stratified then randomly assigned to either SOLACE (n = 9) or control group (n = 8). Retention and adherence rates were excellent with minimal missing data suggesting SOLACE had good acceptability and feasibility. Quantitative analysis revealed that mental health scores had significantly improved for those who took part in SOLACE compared to no significant changes for control group participants. In addition, changes in secondary outcome measures (e.g. stigma, self-esteem and self-compassion) were in favour of SOLACE. Focus group interviews revealed that SOLACE was acceptable to parents. Results suggest that a full randomised controlled trial is warranted.
    • A comparison of four approaches to evaluate the sit-to-stand movement

      Shukla, Brajesh K.; Jain, Hiteshi; Vijay, Vivek; Yadav, Sandeep; Mathur, Arvind; Hewson, David; Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur; Asian Centre for Medical Education, Research & Innovation, Jodhpur; University of Bedfordshire (IEEE, 2020-04-19)
      The sit-to-stand test (STS) is a simple test of function in older people that can identify people at risk of falls. The aim of this study was to develop two novel methods of evaluating performance in the STS using a low-cost RGB camera and another an instrumented chair containing load cells in the seat of the chair to detect center of pressure movements and ground reaction forces. The two systems were compared to a Kinect and a force plate. Twenty-one younger subjects were tested when performing two 5STS movements at self-selected slow and normal speeds while 16 older fallers were tested when performing one 5STS at a self-selected pace. All methods had acceptable limits of agreement with an expert for total STS time for younger subjects and older fallers, with smaller errors observed for the chair (-0.18 ± 0.17 s) and force plate (-0.19 ± 0.79 s) than for the RGB camera (-0.30 ± 0.51 s) and the Kinect (-0.38 ± 0.50 s) for older fallers. The chair had the smallest limits of agreement compared to the expert for both younger and older participants. The new device was also able to estimate movement velocity, which could be used to estimate muscle power during the STS movement. Subsequent studies will test the device against opto-electronic systems, incorporate additional sensors, and then develop predictive equations for measures of physical function.
    • British South Asian male nurses' views on the barriers and enablers to entering and progressing in nursing careers

      Quereshi, Irtiza; Ali, Nasreen; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2020-04-06)
      To ascertain British South Asian male nurses' views on the barriers and enablers to entering and progressing in nursing education and careers. There is a shortage of men from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the National Health Service nursing workforce. There is a dearth of evidence on the views of British south Asian men on this subject. A qualitative interpretative intersectional approach was used to carry out one to one interviews (n=5) with British South Asian male nurses using a semi-structured topic guide. Interviews took place between July 2018 and February 2019, across England. A Framework Analysis approach was used to analyse the interview transcripts. The main themes emerging as barriers were: poor pay and conditions, negative immediate, extended family, community views and a lack of knowledge and awareness of the nursing profession. The main themes emerging as enablers were: personal circumstances (including role models) and ethnicity (including the role of religion and masculinity). Findings suggest that the intersection between ethnicity and gender presents as an important enabler, as well as inhibitor, for British South Asian men. Nursing careers and salient barriers exist at a systemic level and include institutional racism. Review policies and practice on unconscious bias and institutional racism in the recruitment, retention and progression of British South Asian men. Provide continuous professional development including mentoring support to help career progression for these men. Develop culturally specific interventions to reduce the stigma associated with the nursing profession in the British South Asian community. Consider places of worship as venues for delivery of these interventions when promoting nursing. AIM BACKGROUND METHODS RESULTS CONCLUSION IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT
    • A systematic review of the factors – enablers and barriers – affecting e-learning in health sciences education

      Regmi, Krishna; Jones, Linda (Springer/BMC Medical Education, 2020-03-31)
      Background: Recently, much attention has been given to e-learning in higher education as it provides better access to learning resources online, utilising technology – regardless of learners’ geographical locations and timescale – to enhance learning. It has now become part of the mainstream in education in the health sciences, including medical, dental, public health, nursing, and other allied health professionals. Despite growing evidence claiming that e-learning is as effective as traditional means of learning, there is very limited evidence available about what works, and when and how e-learning enhances teaching and learning. This systematic review aimed to identify and synthesise the factors – enablers and barriers – affecting e-learning in health sciences education (el-HSE) that have been reported in the medical literature. Methods: A systemic review of articles published on e-learning in health sciences education (el-HSE) was performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Allied & Complementary Medicine, DH-DATA, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Global Health, from 1980 through 2019, using ‘Textword’ and ‘Thesaurus’ search terms. All original articles fulfilling the following criteria were included: (1) e-learning was implemented in health sciences education, and (2) the investigation of the factors – enablers and barriers – about el-HSE related to learning performance or outcomes. Following the PRISMA guidelines, both relevant published and unpublished papers were searched. Data were extracted and quality appraised using QualSyst tools, and synthesised performing thematic analysis. Results: Out of 985 records identified, a total of 162 citations were screened, of which 57 were found to be of relevance to this study. The primary evidence base comprises 24 papers, with two broad categories identified, enablers and barriers, under eight separate themes: facilitate learning; learning in practice; systematic approach to learning; integration of e-learning into curricula; poor motivation and expectation; resource-intensive; not suitable for all disciplines or contents, and lack of IT skills. Conclusions: This study has identified the factors which impact on e-learning: interaction and collaboration between learners and facilitators; considering learners’ motivation and expectations; utilising user-friendly technology; and putting learners at the centre of pedagogy. There is significant scope for better understanding of the issues related to enablers and facilitators associated with e-learning, and developing appropriate policies and initiatives to establish when, how and where they fit best, creating a broader framework for making e-learning effective.
    • The CARESSES study protocol: testing and evaluating culturally competent socially assistive robots among older adults residing in long term care homes through a controlled experimental trial

      Papadopoulos, Chris; Hill, Tetiana; Battistuzzi, Linda; Castro, Nina; Nigath, Abiha; Randhawa, Gurch; Merton, Len; Kanoria, Sanjeev; Kamide, Hiroko; Chong, Nak Young; et al. (BMC (part of Springer Nature), 2020-03-20)
      This article describes the design of an intervention study that focuses on whether and to what degree culturally competent social robots can improve health and well-being related outcomes among older adults residing long-term care homes. The trial forms the final stage of the international, multidisciplinary CARESSES project aimed at designing, developing and evaluating culturally competent robots that can assist older people according to the culture of the individual they are supporting. The importance of cultural competence has been demonstrated in previous nursing literature to be key towards improving health outcomes among patients. = 15 each). Participants were allocated to either the experimental group, control group 1 or control group 2 (all n = 15). Those allocated to the experimental group or control group 1 received a Pepper robot programmed with the CARESSES culturally competent artificial intelligence (experimental group) or a limited version of this software (control group 1) for 18 h across 2 weeks. Participants in control group 2 did not receive a robot and continued to receive care as usual. Participants could also nominate their informal carer(s) to participate. Quantitative data collection occurred at baseline, after 1 week of use, and after 2 weeks of use with the latter time-point also including qualitative semi-structured interviews that explored their experience and perceptions further. Quantitative outcomes of interest included perceptions of robotic cultural competence, health-related quality of life, loneliness, user satisfaction, attitudes towards robots and caregiver burden. This trial adds to the current preliminary and limited pool of evidence regarding the benefits of socially assistive robots for older adults which to date indicates considerable potential for improving outcomes. It is the first to assess whether and to what extent cultural competence carries importance in generating improvements to well-being.
    • Health impact assessment in Nigeria: an initiative whose time has come

      Chilaka, Marcus A.; Ndioho, Ibiangake; ; University of Bedfordshire; University of Salford (PAGEpress, 2020-03-19)
      Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is increasingly applied in many developed countries as a tool for advancing healthy public policy. This research was carried out to obtain a HIA situation report for Nigeria and to assess ways of enhancing the use of HIA to promote healthy public policy. Semi structured questionnaires were administered both online and by hand to health and nonhealth professionals in Nigeria. Inferential statistics was used in the analysis of the 510 responses that were received. Only 29% of the respondents had ever heard about HIA; similarly, only 19.3% of those who were aware of HIA had received any form of HIA training. However, 93.2% of respondents were convinced that HIA would be beneficial to the Nigerian health system. Using the approach of SWOT Analysis to discuss the findings, this research concludes that the time has now come, and the right conditions are in place, for the integration of Health Impact Assessment into public policy in Nigeria. Raising awareness and political commitment are the two major strategies to help drive this agenda forward.
    • A pilot study to detect balance impairment in older adults using an instrumented one-leg stance test

      Bassement, Jennifer; Shukla, Brajesh; Yadav, Sandeep; Vijay, Vivek; Mathur, Arvind; Hewson, David; Centre Hospitalier de Valenciennes; Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur; Asian Centre for Medical Education, Research & Innovation, Jodhpur; University of Bedfordshire (American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2020-03-12)
      The aim of this study was to investigate whether parameters from an instrumented one-leg stance on a force plate test could provide relevant information related to fall risk in older people. Twenty-five community dwelling older people and 25 young subjects performed a one-leg stance while standing on a force plate, with parameters related to transferring weight onto one leg and postural sway in singe-leg stance evaluated. Older participants were classified as being at risk of falling if their performance did not meet one of the previously-established cut-offs for the Five Times Sit-To-Stand and Timed-Up-and-Go tests. Eleven older participants were classified as having a risk of falls. The only significant difference between groups during the weight transfer phase was in the mediolateral displacement, with the fall risk group having less sway than the other groups, signifying a more precautionary approach. With respect to postural sway, both the younger subjects and the no fall risk group stabilised sufficiently to decrease their sway compared to initial values after four and six seconds, respectively. In contrast, the fall risk group was unable to stabilise during the one-leg stance, and continued to sway throughout the 10-sec recording period. These findings suggest that the normal one-leg stance test might not be suitable to detect fall risk. In contrast, an instrumented version of the test could provide valuable additional information that could identify risk of falling in older people.
    • Children, organ donation, and Islam: a report of an engagement day of Islamic scholars, young Muslims and pediatric transplant and donation professionals

      Aktas, Mikail; Randhawa, Gurch; Brierley, Joe; ; University of Newcastle; University of Bedfordshire; Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children (Wiley, 2020-03-02)
      Meeting report
    • Point OutWords: protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial of a motor skills intervention to promote communicative development in non-verbal children with autism

      McKinney, Ailbhe; Hotson, Kathryn L.; Rybicki, Alicia; Weisblatt, Emma J.L.; Días, Claudia; Foster, Juliet; Villar, Sofia S.; Murphy, Suzanne; Belmonte, Matthew K.; Nottingham Trent University; et al. (Springer, 2020-01-23)
      Background: Point OutWords is a caregiver-delivered, iPad-assisted intervention for non-verbal or minimally verbal children with autism. It aims to develop prerequisite skills for communication such as manual and oral motor skills, sequencing, and symbolic representation. This feasibility trial aims to determine the viability of evaluating the clinical efficacy of Point OutWords. Methodology: We aim to recruit 46 non-verbal or minimally verbal children with autism and their families, approximately 23 per arm. Children in the intervention group will use Point OutWords for half an hour, five times a week, for 8 weeks. Children in the control group will have equal caregiver-led contact time with the iPad using a selection of control apps (e.g. sensory apps, drawing apps). Communication, motor, and daily living skills are assessed at baseline and post-intervention. Parents will keep diaries during the intervention period and will take part in focus groups when the intervention is completed. Discussion: Point OutWords was developed in collaboration with children with autism and their caregivers, to provide an intervention for a subgroup of autism that has been historically underserved. As autism is a heterogeneous condition, it is unlikely that one style of intervention will address all aspects of its symptomatology; the motor skills approach of Point OutWords can complement other therapies that address core autistic symptoms of social cognition and communication more directly. The current feasibility trial can inform the selection of outcome measures and design for future full-scale randomised controlled trials of Point OutWords and of other early interventions in autism. Trial registration: ISRCTN, ISRCTN12808402. Prospectively registered on 12 March 2019. Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, Minimally verbal, Non-verbal, Motor, Language, Communication, iPad, Feasibility, Randomised controlled trial
    • Designing an experimental and a reference robot to test and evaluate the impact of cultural competence in socially assistive robotics

      Recchiuto, Carmine Tommaso; Papadopoulos, Chris; Hill, Tetiana; Castro, Nina; Bruno, Barbara; Papadopoulos, Irena; Sgorbissa, Antonio; University of Genova; University of Bedfordshire; Advinia Healthcare; et al. (IEEE, 2020-01-13)
      The article focusses on the work performed in preparation for an experimental trial aimed at evaluating the impact of a culturally competent robot for care home assistance. Indeed, it has been estabilished that the user's cultural identity plays an important role during the interaction with a robotic system and cultural competence may be one of the key elements for increasing capabilities of socially assistive robots. Specifically, the paper describes part of the work carried out for the definition and implementation of two different robotic systems for the care of older adults: a culturally competent robot, that shows its awareness of the user's cultural identity, and a reference robot, non culturally competent, but with the same functionalities of the former. The design of both robots is here described in detail, together with the key elements that make a socially assistive robot culturally competent, which should be absent in the non-culturally competent counterpart. Examples of the experimental phase of the CARESSES project, with a fictional user are reported, giving a hint of the validness of the proposed approach.