Involving and working with patients and the public to produce relevant research.

Research Leads:

Dr Nadia Brookes, University of Kent, Co-production Theme Lead & Patient Public Involvement Strategic Lead

Co-production Motif
Co-production Showcase

Co-production research is when researchers, practitioners, commissioners and members of the public come together and collaborate to develop the research. The aim of this kind of research is to get everyone to work together in more equal partnerships and share responsibility and power throughout the entire research project.

At NIHR ARC KSS we have developed an evolutionary co-production research programme that that helps us to support our core themes: Living with Dementia; Starting Well: Children’s Mental Health; Primary and Community Health Services and Social Care from planning the research right through to supporting the implementation process which will help bring about positive changes to our local health services.

Our work has a particular focus on the following overlapping subthemes:

  • Co-producing health and well-being including self-management, shared decision-making and innovation co-design.
  • Co-producing health and social care services including involvement/participation in organisations, governance and commissioning.
  • Co-production of research including links to operational public and community involvement, engagement and participation within the ARC.

During our first year of operation, we have:

  • Successfully launched the Kent Surrey Sussex Public Involvement regional forum.
  • Led a collaborative project, Community Volunteering in Response to COVID-19.
  • Supported the set-up of co-production activities in the NIHR PALLUP study: Improving home-based care for older people with complex needs in the last phase of life.

Our work has also included:

  • Exploring the range and extent of KSS co-production initiatives and interventions with older people, young people with mental health needs, and within social care.
  • The core theme implementation leads mapping local organisations and communities where there is potential for partnership around co-production.
  • A survey designed to capture the range of co-production training needs across the region.
  • Working with the ARC dissemination lead to develop an impact framework which includes PPI and co-production.

We hope to continue to build on this work: producing evidence reviews of co-production and older people, social care and young people with mental health needs; delivering a co-production training programme (setting up a community of practice building on existing links); developing indicators of co-production impact; and supporting and evaluating co-production across the ARC.

We asked a wide variety of stakeholders what they thought would be helpful in term of promoting co-production within Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The most frequent suggestion was a short guide on what co-production really means and how to differentiate it from patient and public involvement (and other similar terms).

We read through vast amounts of literature, including academic papers, reports and websites to select what we think will be most useful for researchers, services and commissioners. As a result, we have produced this guide  
A Guide to Co-Production for Researchers, Services and Commissoners  which is intended as an introduction to co-production and its conceptualisation in research and service delivery.

It serves to provide a springboard for researchers, service providers and commissioners enthusiastic to learn about and embed co-production in their work. Within the guide we set out how the co-production theme can support you and signpost useful resources and further reading. By working in partnership with those commissioning, providing or using services, we can ensure that we are asking the right questions and delivering services that meet the needs of the local population. Additionally, we aim to promote outputs that can be implemented locally, are sustainable and become embedded into practice.

We hope this guide helps you to understand the process, why it is important and then to try it out. 

Co-Production: Together we are better - a leaflet for the public

NIHR ARC KSS has produced a leaflet for services and research teams to use as a way of introducing the key ideas behind co-production to members of the public who may be new to working in this way.

The leaflet is aimed primarily at members of the public looking to get involved in co-production with services and research in the NIHR ARC KSS, but it may also be a useful tool for researchers or health and social care professionals, as a quick reference or introduction.

 Download a copy of the leaflet.

Co-production case studies: A retrospective review of case studies carried out within the ARC KSS

A guide, part of a series aimed at researchers, service providers and commissioners who are keen to learn about co-production and how to use it in their research has been produced by the NIHR ARC KSS Co-production team, and includes examples of real NIHR ARC KSS case studies.

The guide builds on an earlier version showcasing clear and succinct case studies utilising aspects of co-production and co-design. It is aimed at anyone interested in a participatory approach, whether that be, research, service design or service evaluation, provides a learning platform that will support an individual's own co-production journey, with the hope of inspiring innovative approaches and ways to adapt to their own settings.

 Download a copy of the Co-production case studies guide.

Systematic reviews for Researchers, Services and Commissioners

The co-production team has produced a guide critiquing a selection of systematic reviews that use co-production in a meaningful way.

The guide includes a section for papers attempting to capture or measure the outcomes of co-produced research or service design. Selected reviews focus on three areas where there are recognised challenges to co-production of research and services: social care for people with cognitive impairment living in the community; end of life care; and children and young people.

This could be a good starting point for researchers wanting to further their understanding of co-production and identify gaps in the literature, both important for strengthening co-produced research outputs within the NIHR ARC KSS.

 Download a copy of the Systematic Reviews for Researchers, Services and Commissioners

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