Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in research is an active partnership between members of the public and researcher teams. Involvement is about drawing on your own experiences to provide your thoughts and views on our research. This is different to being a research participant, where you might be asked to take part in a study or clinical trial. By being involved in our research, patients and the public can advise on what is important to them and bring different perspectives to the way that research studies are designed and carried out.
Why is it important to involve patients and the public in research?
It is important that those affected by a condition or members of the public who use health services have the opportunity to be involved in research that might affect them. By contributing your own personal experience or views of living with a condition, you can provide valuable expertise that might otherwise be missing from the research team.
As well as making a valuable contribution to the quality and relevance of the research, patient and public involvement can also make a difference to those involved. This might mean learning new skills, being part of research team, giving something back to a service or helping to improve care.
No matter how complicated the research, or how brilliant the researcher, patients and the public always offer unique, invaluable insights. Their advice when designing, implementing and evaluating research invariably makes studies more effective, more credible and often more cost-efficient as well.
– Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, (Foreword in Staley, 2009)
What does it involve?
Patients and the public can be involved in different parts of the research process and in different ways. We have an active PPI group here at the Centre who meet regularly and we also have opportunities for people to get involved in our individual research projects, working more closely with research teams.
Activities might include:
- Suggesting research topics that are important to patients
- Drawing on your own knowledge and experiences to offer a patient, carer or public voice as part of an advisory or steering group
- Attending meetings with research teams and other PPI Contributors to discuss how the research is being carried out
- Developing clear and easy to understand patient information leaflets
- Looking at the results of a study and what they might mean to patients
- Advising on the best way to share the findings of the research projects with patients and the wider public
Who can get involved in our research?
Anyone with an interest in our research can get involved and you don’t need any previous experience of working in research. You may have lived experience of being a trauma, burn or critical care patient yourself. Alternatively, you may be a carer, relative, partner or friend of someone who has. We also welcome members of the public or organisations/charities who share an interest in our research and would like to find out how they can become more involved.
Listening to patients and families can provide a real springboard for ideas…If patients don’t talk to researchers and clinicians about what is important to them, then treatments don’t improve quickly. It is sometimes the smallest of changes to a piece of research that can make a huge impact on patient outcomes and no one has thought to ask!
– Aprella, PPI Contributor