Systematic review suggests active support does not yet meet criteria for evidence-based practice


Active Support is a coherent package of training in staff working practices and home organisational procedures to help staff to provide more direct support for resident participation, and increase levels of engagement in activities by residents.

This systematic review identified two studies in which researchers reported three experimental evaluations of active support. Two of the experiments did not show experimental control although there was evidence that the investigators in these studies did not sufficiently manipulate the independent variable.

They suggest that based on the data found in the review, active support only meets the criterion for a “promising treatment” and not yet an evidence-based practice.

They recommend that in order to meet the latter criterion, future research should clearly demonstrate that the researchers have manipulated the independent variable and reported data on individual participants.

Active Support: A Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Practice Evaluation, Hamelin J & Sturmey P, in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,  49, 3, 166-171

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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