By Helen Aveyard
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Additional resources for A Beginner's Guide to Evidence-Based Practice in Health and Social Care Second edition
Search for the most appropriate evidence: this is usually research evidence but could be other forms of evidence as we will discuss in Chapter 5. Try to work out if the evidence you find is any good: we refer to this process as ‘critical appraisal of the evidence’ and we will discuss how we assess evidence in Chapter 6. Incorporate the evidence into a strategy for action: if the evidence is good enough, remember to refer to your professional judgement and patient or client preference. We will discuss this further in Chapter 7.
Goldacre illustrates clearly that the vast amount of information available needs close scrutiny. There is also some concern that practitioners might be tempted to ignore the growing evidence base and continue to use outdated practices. Ernst (2008) summarizes some concerning events in which institutions disregarded evidence when it didn’t suit their policy or commercial interests. We have outlined the likely consequences of this in Chapter 1. It is clearly within your role as a health and social care practitioner to get behind the headlines and simple reports so that you are not supporting claims that do not have a sound evidence base.
This is because research provides direct observation of the effect of interventions and care procedures on the patient/clients and clients themselves or as in the case of qualitative research, provides us with insight so that we may more fully understand a situation or the service users’ experiences. Ideally, this research will form the basis of policy and guidelines or care pathways. You might also draw on local policy, which has been developed for the management of complex situations. If there is no research evidence, you might draw on established scientific information and use this evidence to make reasoned deductions about what you need to know.
A Beginner's Guide to Evidence-Based Practice in Health and Social Care Second edition by Helen Aveyard