Background: We have recently completed a project which involved two linked systematic reviews and an overarching synthesis evaluating the effectiveness and experiences of mental-health interventions for children and young people (CYP) with long-term physical conditions (LTC). We engaged in stakeholder consultation throughout the review to incorporate the insights of a range of practice-facing evidence end-users, with the aim of enriching the review and increasing its applicability, transferability and visibility.
Aim: To describe the process of involvement of evidence end-users within a linked-evidence synthesis project, share the outcomes, and reflect on lessons learned and value added.
Approach: Our review team consulted with academic topic experts, clinicians, charities, CYP with experience of LTCs and mental ill health and their parents. Consultation occurred throughout the project and included a 6-week dedicated consultation period during the final synthesis stages. We aimed to gather input on search terms and definitions; approaches to data extraction and synthesis; interpretation of findings; dissemination channels; plain language summaries; and, implications for clinical practice.
Impact on project: Throughout the review, consultation influenced the team’s approach. This influence ranged from planning search terms and inclusion/exclusion criteria, through the use of language around mental and physical health, to helping validate emerging findings from the overarching synthesis. We also benefitted from an array of dissemination channels and opportunities for collaboration and knowledge transfer. We have identified a number of challenges in communicating research progress to different audiences and ensuring that planned activities are valuable to all parties.
Conclusions: Consultation with a range of stakeholders was valuable to the review team, and impacted on every stage of the review. In particular, we valued consultation in aiding the interpretation of evidence and facilitating dissemination amongst key target audiences.