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Exploring risk and SafeTy with leArning disabilitY clients in forensic Services: an evAluation oF Talking Mats a visual, Electronic, communications tool

Adapting to COVID19

Gosh who would have thought that 2020 would bring a global pandemic in the form our the coronavirus. As we are all still reeling from its impact, we have spent the last few weeks adapting the STAY SAFE study to work in a virtual world. Our wonderful Research Fellow, Dr Sam Quinn, joined us in the middle of it all and quickly got up to speed meeting the team on virtual calls and reviewing literature. Thankfully all of these activities can be done remotely while working at home. Not the ideal scenario as a researcher but one that is the only option for the moment. Our funder, the Burdett Trust for Nursing, got in touch to reassure us of their support and ask we update them more regularly as the study proceeds.

We have also been adapting our ethics documentation and study protocol to ensure it fits with the new reality we all find ourself in, particularly the NHS with strict infection control procedures and more staff redirected to work on the frontlines. We are lucky in a sense to be undertaking qualitative work as interviews can be undertaken over the telephone and participant obsersvation recorded if necessary to caputre nurses using Talking Mats ( with adult patients with a learning disability in forensic settings. Of course this is dependent on ethical approval which is governed by NHS Fife as our field site is Lynebank hospital in Dumferline ( Despite everything, our recent meeting with our NHS colleagues, who are partners on the STAY SAFE study, was positive and they are managing to care for their patients extremely well under the circumstances. With that in mind, we look forward to the future and remain ever flexible and adaptable!


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