Implementation and systematic evaluation of a knowledge translation initiative for improved pain management and assessment in dementia
Castillo, Louise Inah Rae
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Pain is highly prevalent in older adults with dementia. Despite this, pain is routinely underassessed and undertreated in this population. Although a wealth of research has been produced in this area, transforming evidence into impactful action in practice often presents numerous barriers. As such, a recent area of emphasis in science is evidence implementation. Knowledge translation (KT) refers to the iterative process by which research is implemented into health systems (e.g., hospitals) to advance knowledge, inform future research questions, and improve health outcomes. Recent social media (SM) KT initiatives have demonstrated success in expanding the access to health information and mobilizing solutions; however, there is a lack of research examining KT initiatives for older adults. The primary goal of this study is to implement and evaluate a large-scale KT initiative (i.e., the #SeePainMoreClearly initiative) aimed at increasing awareness, uptake, and access to evidence-based information about pain in dementia. The study included the creation of an online repository and engaging evidence-based content and dissemination through SM. The effectiveness of the project was evaluated through various web analytics, SM metrics, and questionnaires. Quantitative analysis of SM metrics indicated a great scope and reach of the initiative. Evaluation questionnaire ratings demonstrated evidence of improved understanding about the problem of pain in dementia and the current solutions among health professionals, caregivers, and members of the public. Textual data from SM discussions showed that the #SeePainMoreClearly initiative stimulated online discussion about pain in dementia. Findings from this investigation have implications for closing the knowledge to practice gap in dementia care through faster mobilization of scientific findings. The methodologies used in the study could serve as a framework for the development of social media KT initiatives in other health disciplines.