Rehabilitation Research During and after the COVID-19 Pandemic: Emergent Strategies From a Trainee-Faculty Workshop
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Research Objectives 1) To identify challenges for conducting ongoing and future rehabilitation research during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2) to develop strategies that can support ongoing and future rehabilitation research.
Design A two-hour facilitated online workshop with guided discussion.
Setting Online workshop synchronously recorded via Zoom.
Participants Trainees (14 doctoral; 2 MSc students; 1 post-doctoral fellow) and research faculty (5 physiotherapy; 3 occupational therapy), School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Canada.
Interventions Not applicable.
Main Outcome Measures Workshop transcript and field notes were cross-compared by 4 workshop facilitators from which 3 main categories emerged: 1) pandemic protocol adjustment, 2) participant accessibility, and 3) knowledge dissemination.
Results 1) Pandemic protocol adjustment: Workshop participants identified concerns with transitioning pre- to post-pandemic research, such as variations in intervention protocols and psychometric properties of virtually guided outcome assessments. Strategies identified: Delivering toolkits containing equipment needed for virtually guided assessments, and their comprehensive psychometric evaluation prior to use. 2) Participant accessibility: Virtually guided rehabilitation research may present barriers to participation for some populations due to a lack of internet access and proficiency. Strategies identified: Including community stakeholders in the decision-making process to help guide the development of safe and feasible study protocols, and simplifying protocols to maintain participants’ adherence. 3) Knowledge dissemination: Virtually delivered conferences have required additional preparation time due to requirements of pre-recorded presentations, and hinder important conversations between conference attendees. Strategies identified: Researchers should account for delays in knowledge translation plans for funding applications, and conference organizers should consider hosting networking events for attendees.
Conclusions This workshop served as a catalyst for creative solutions to complex methodological challenges that can be integrated within existing and future rehabilitation-focused studies during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Author(s) Disclosures None.
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