How to get involved with research

Now we have learned some ways to try to prevent falls, we can think about the future and ways we may be able to help others who fall in the future. One of the ways we can help people in the future is by participating in research.

Getting involved in research is one way that we can increase our knowledge around the treatments that are most likely to reduce falls. In the UK, research studies are catalogued on a large database called the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Portfolio. On this database you can search for studies in any area of medicine and if you, for example, include falls, it will search for studies that are being carried in the UK in the area of falls. If there are studies then you can also see how many participants are being recruited and where the study is being carried out. There is usually an email address in case you want to get involved.

Similar portfolios and websites also exist elsewhere in the world, some of these are provided as links below. Other contacts to use to find out more about research are local or national charities who often fund or support research and may know of any local studies which may be appropriate.

Sometimes people worry that it might not be appropriate for them personally to email the researcher carrying out the study. It is quite normal for individuals to either lobby their own doctor to include them in a study or contact research teams directly to ask for more information or to get involved.

There is also the opportunity to influence what research goes on in the future. Getting involved in patient support groups and clinical study groups can help shape how future studies are performed. Patients have a very strong voice around funding with organisations like Age UK having a strong and vocal membership from older people who have a considerable say in the research it funds. Organisations such as Age UK and Involve are prioritising research areas and influencing government policy, and as a result research studies are done that are much more appropriate and map directly to the priorities that are highlighted by those affected.

So if you want to get involved and have your say, find out how through the websites in the ‘See also’ section below.

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