Abstract

Background: Cerebral palsy is a permanent disorder of posture and movement caused by disturbances in the developing brain. It affects approximately 1 in every 500 children in developed countries and is the most common form of childhood physical disability. People with cerebral palsy may also have problems with speech, vision and hearing, intellectual difficulties and epilepsy. Health and therapy services are frequently required throughout life, and this care should be effective and evidence informed; however, accessing and adopting new research findings into day-to-day clinical practice is often delayed.

Methods/Design: This 3-year study employs a before and after design to evaluate if a multi-strategy intervention can improve research implementation among allied health professionals (AHPs) who work with children and young people with cerebral palsy and to establish if children’s health outcomes can be improved by routine clinical assessment. The intervention comprises (1) knowledge brokering with AHPs, (2) access to an online research evidence library, (3) provision of negotiated evidence-based training and education, and (4) routine use of evidence-based measures with children and young people aged 3–18 years with cerebral palsy. The study is being implemented in four organisations, with a fifth organisation acting as a comparison site, across four Australian states. Effectiveness will be assessed using questionnaires completed by AHPs at baseline, 6, 12 and 24 months, and by monitoring the extent of use of evidence-based measures. Children’s health outcomes will be evaluated by longitudinal analyses.

Discussion: Government, policy makers and service providers all seek evidence-based information to support decision-making about how to distribute scarce resources, and families are seeking information to support intervention choices. This study will provide knowledge about what constitutes an efficient, evidence-informed service and which allied health interventions are implemented for children with cerebral palsy.

Trial registration: Trial is not a controlled healthcare intervention and is not registered

Keywords

cerebral palsy, knowledge translation, evidence-based practice, surveillance, assessment, child

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Link to Publisher Version (DOI)

http://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-014-0202-0