We love to share stories of how QMU’s work is making a practical impact on everyday lives. Right now, there is no greater threat to our way of life than COVID-19, and our inspirational researchers wasted no time in responding to the crisis.

Professor Cathy Bulley is dedicated to conducting research that can make a real difference to people’s quality of life. At the start of the pandemic, she worked with a team of multi-disciplinary researchers at QMU to apply for rapid research funding from the Chief Scientist's Office. This supported the team’s research into people’s experience of illness during the pandemic and is enabling QMU to make a positive contribution at this time of crisis and well beyond. Professor Bulley, who is Co-Director of the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research at QMU, gives us an insight into her recent COVID-19 project.

Tell us about your research and why it’s important?

This research looked at people’s experiences of illness during the pandemic, but mainly focused on those who contracted COVID-19. We then used the insights to develop recommendations about the type of support that people need to help them recover. By carefully listening to people’s experiences we were able to identify barriers that they encountered whilst trying to access support. This useful information is key in helping service designers develop accessible health and social care services which meet people’s needs.

Why is this work important?

Everyone affected by COVID-19 has the right to have their voice heard. The research gives us an understanding of what people need to help them recover – no matter where they live, whether or not they spent time in hospital, or what ethnic group they are from. Ultimately, we are able to share the results of our research to help other organisations develop accessible and effective services.

What groups took part in the research?

We heard from people who have experienced both short and long-term effects of COVID-19, as well as other illnesses and health conditions. We also involved people who felt socially isolated; people from different geographical areas and minority groups; those involved in funding, designing, and delivering services; as well as people who advocate for others.

How will the results be used and what happens next?

The report was submitted in October 2020 and will be available for policy makers, services providers and other interested parties to use. The next stage will be to build on this research by looking at the longer term effects of COVID-19, with a focus on people living on low incomes and people from black, Asian and minority groups.

Interested in this research?
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