• Evaluating ‘Enhancing Pragmatic Language skills for Young children with Social communication impairments’ (E-PLAYS): a feasibility cluster-randomised controlled trial

      Murphy, Suzanne; Joffe, Victoria; Donald, Louisa; Radley, Jessica; Sunthararajah, Sailaa; Welch, Charlie; Bell, Kerry; Messer, David J.; Crafter, Sarah; Fairhurst, Caroline; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-01-04)
      Background This article reports the results from a feasibility study of an intervention (‘E-PLAYS’) aimed at supporting children who experience difficulties with social communication. E-PLAYS is based around a dyadic computer game, which aims to develop collaborative and communication skills. A pilot study found that when E-PLAYS was delivered by researchers, improvements on communication test scores and on collaborative behaviours were observed. The aim of this study was to ascertain the feasibility of running a full-scale trial to test the effectiveness of E-PLAYS in a National Health Service (NHS) setting with delivery by speech and language therapists and teaching assistants. Methods The study was a two-arm feasibility cluster-randomised controlled trial of the E-PLAYS intervention with a treatment as usual control arm. Data relating to recruitment and retention, treatment fidelity, acceptability to participants, suitability of outcomes and feasibility of collecting health economic measures and of determining cost-effectiveness were collected. Speech and language therapists selected suitable children (ages 4–7 years old) from their caseload. E-PLAYS intervention (experimental group) was then delivered by teaching assistants overseen by speech and language therapists. The control group received usual care. Assessments included blinded language measures and observations, non-blinded teacher-reported measures of peer relations and classroom behaviour and non-blinded parent-reported use of health and education resources and quality of life. Results Planned recruitment was for 70 children, in the event, 50 children were recruited which was sufficient for feasibility purposes. E-PLAYS was very highly rated by children, teaching assistants and speech and language therapists and treatment fidelity did not pose any issues. We were able to collect health economic data which suggests that E-PLAYS would be a low-cost intervention. Conclusion Based on recruitment, retention and adherence rates and our outcome measures, a full-scale randomised controlled trial estimated appears feasible and warranted to assess the effectiveness of E-PLAYS for use by the NHS and schools. Trial registration ISRCTN 14818949 (retrospectively registered)
    • Evaluating ‘enhancing pragmatic language skills for young children with social communication impairments’ (E-PLAYS): protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial study

      Murphy, Suzanne; Joffe, Victoria; Messer, David J.; Crafter, Sarah; Radley, Jessica; Sunthararajah, Sailaa; Bell, Kerry; Corbacho, Belen; Fairhurst, Caroline; Rodgers, Sara; et al. (BMC, 2019-06-08)
      Background: A number of children experience difficulties with social communication and this has long-term deleterious effects on their mental health, social development and education. The proposal presented in this article describes a feasibility study for a trial to test an intervention (‘E-PLAYS’) aimed at supporting children with social communication impairments. E-PLAYS harnesses technology in the form of a novel computer game in order to develop collaborative and communication skills. Preliminary studies by the authors show that when E-PLAYS was administered by the research team, children with social communication impairments showed improvements on communication test scores and on observed collaborative behaviours. The study described here is a pragmatic trial to test the application of E-PLAYS delivered by NHS speech and language therapists together with schools. Methods: This protocol outlines a two-arm feasibility cluster-randomised controlled trial of the E-PLAYS intervention with treatment as usual control arm, with randomisation at the level of the speech and language therapist. The aim of this study is to ascertain whether it will be feasible to progress to running a full-scale definitive trial to test the effectiveness of E-PLAYS in an NHS setting. Data relating to recruitment and retention, the appropriateness of outcomes and the acceptability of E-PLAYS to participants will be collected. Speech and language therapists will select suitable children (ages 4–7 years old) from their caseloads and deliver either the E-PLAYS intervention (experimental group) or treatment as usual (control group). Assessments will include blinded language measures and observations, non-blinded teacher-reported measures of peer relations and classroom behaviour and parent-reported use of resources and quality of life. There will also be a qualitative process evaluation. Discussion: The findings of this study will inform the decision as to whether to progress to a full-scale definitive randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of E-PLAYS when delivered by speech and language therapists and teaching assistants within schools. The use of technology in game form is a novel approach in an area where there are currently few available interventions. Trial registration: ISRCTN 14818949 (retrospectively registered). Keywords: Social communication, Pragmatic language, Randomised controlled trial, Feasibility study, Young children, Peer collaboration, Communication impairment, Computer game
    • A randomised controlled trial of energetic activity for depression in young people (READY): a multi-site feasibility trial protocol

      Howlett, Neil; Bottoms, Lindsay; Chater, Angel M.; Clark, A.B.; Clarke, T.; David, L.; Irvine, K.; Jones, A.; Jones, J.; Mengoni, S.E.; et al. (BioMed Central Ltd, 2021-01-04)
      Background: Prevalence of depression is increasing in young people, and there is a need to develop and evaluate behavioural interventions which may provide benefits equal to or greater than talking therapies or pharmacological alternatives. Exercise could be beneficial for young people living with depression, but robust, large-scale trials of effectiveness and the impact of exercise intensity are lacking. This study aims to test whether a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of an intervention targeting young people living with depression is feasible by determining whether it is possible to recruit and retain young people, develop and deliver the intervention as planned, and evaluate training and delivery. Methods: The design is a three-arm cluster randomised controlled feasibility trial with embedded process evaluation. Participants will be help-seeking young people, aged 13–17 years experiencing mild to moderate low mood or depression, referred from three counties in England. The intervention will be delivered by registered exercise professionals, supported by mental health support workers, twice a week for 12 weeks. The three arms will be high-intensity exercise, low-intensity exercise, and a social activity control. All arms will receive a ‘healthy living’ behaviour change session prior to each exercise session and the two exercise groups are energy matched. The outcomes are referral, recruitment, and retention rates; attendance at exercise sessions; adherence to and ability to reach intensity during exercise sessions; proportions of missing data; adverse events, all measured at baseline, 3, and 6 months; resource use; and reach and representativeness. Discussion: UK National Health Service (NHS) policy is to provide young people with advice about using exercise to help depression but there is no evidence-based exercise intervention to either complement or as an alternative to medication or talking therapies. UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines suggest that exercise can be an effective treatment, but the evidence base is relatively weak. This feasibility trial will provide evidence about whether it is feasible to recruit and retain young people to a full RCT to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an exercise intervention for depression. Trial registration: ISRCTN, ISRCTN66452702. Registered 9 April 2020.
    • A randomised-controlled feasibility study of the REgulate your SItting Time (RESIT) intervention for reducing sitting time in individuals with type 2 diabetes: study protocol

      Bailey, Daniel Paul; Edwardson, Charlotte L.; Pappas, Yannis; Dong, Feng; Hewson, David; Biddle, Stuart J. H.; Brierley, Marsha L.; Chater, Angel M. (BMC, 2021-03-19)
      People with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) generally spend a large amount of time sitting. This increases their risk of cardiovascular disease, premature mortality, diabetes-related complications and mental health problems. There is a paucity of research that has evaluated interventions aimed at reducing and breaking up sitting in people with T2DM. The primary aim of this study is to assess the feasibility of delivering and evaluating a tailored intervention to reduce and break up sitting in ambulatory adults with T2DM.
    • Research protocol: general practice organ donation intervention-a feasibility study (GPOD)

      Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Papadopoulos, Chris; Randhawa, Gurch; Asghar, Zeeshan (BMC, 2018-11-12)
      BACKGROUND: New interventions are required to increase the number of people donating their organs after death. In the United States of America (USA), general practice has proved to be a successful location to increase organ donor registration. However, a dearth of research exists examining this in the United Kingdom (UK). due to the unique challenges presented by the National Health Service (NHS). This protocol outlines a feasibility study to assess whether UK general practice is a feasible and acceptable location for organ donation intervention targeting NHS Organ Donor Register (NHS ODR) membership. METHODS: The primary intervention element, prompted choice, requires general practice to ask patients in consultations if they wish to join the NHS ODR. Two additional intervention techniques will be used to support prompted choice: staff training and leaflets and posters. The intervention will run for 3 months (April-July 2018) followed by a period of data collection. The following methods will be used to assess feasibility, acceptability and fidelity: registration data, a training evaluation survey, focus groups with staff and online surveys for staff and patients. DISCUSSION: By examining the feasibility, acceptability and fidelity of a prompted choice intervention in UK general practice, important knowledge can be gathered on whether it is a suitable location to conduct this. Additional learning can also be gained generally for implementing interventions in general practice. This could contribute to the knowledge base concerning the feasibility of NHS general practice to host interventions.
    • Stigma of living as an autism carer: a brief psycho-social support intervention (SOLACE). Study protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility study.

      Lodder, Annemarie; Papadopoulos, Chris; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire (Biomed Central, 2019-02-26)
      Stigma is prominent in the lives of autistic individuals and their families and contributes significantly to the challenges faced by families raising an autistic child. Parents and carers can feel blamed for their child's behaviour, feel socially excluded and isolated and suffer from low self-esteem and poor psychological well-being. This increases the risk of experiencing self-stigma which further exacerbates these and other negative consequences. Therefore, there is a need for interventions that help parents/family carers cope with autism-related stigma as well as prevent the internalisation of stigma. The primary objective of this study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a stigma support intervention for parents and carers of autistic children titled 'Stigma of Living as an Autism Carer (SOLACE)'. The secondary objective is to explore the preliminary impact of the intervention on the mental health of the parents and carers. tests for differences within the group. Other outcomes of interest are stigma, self-stigma, self-esteem, self-blame, social isolation, self-compassion and perceived responsibility and control. Results from the feasibility randomised controlled trial will be used to refine the study protocol and inform the design of an intervention for future use in a larger, powered trial. SOLACE could potentially improve the psychological well-being of parents/family carers of autistic children through increased resistance to stigma. ISRCTN Registry number ISRCTN61093625 (October 13, 2017).