Overcoming the challenges of recruiting and interviewing research participants following critical illness due to Covid-19.

Journal article


James, A., Thomas, N. and Bench, S. (2023). Overcoming the challenges of recruiting and interviewing research participants following critical illness due to Covid-19. Nurse Researcher.
AuthorsJames, A., Thomas, N. and Bench, S.
Abstract

Background: During the strict restrictions of Covid-19 pandemic, recruitment and interviewing of participants in person was no longer possible and virtual methods were required. Virtual recruitment and interviews are not without their challenges, particularly when exploring sensitive topics.

Aim: To discuss how to overcome some of the challenges of recruiting and interviewing participants following critical illness due to covid-19.

Methods: An exploratory descriptive qualitative interview study with 20 survivors of Covid-19 critical illness discharged from two community-based healthcare settings in London, England. Participants were interviewed at home after being discharged from hospital after at least one month.

Findings: Due to the sensitivity of this research topic, adaptations to recruitment and interview strategies were needed, including involvement from Patient Experience Facilitators to increase recruitment. Considerations to interview strategies included use of virtual interviews and subsequent building of rapport with participants, coping with interruptions, managing distress of participants and self-care of the researchers.

Conclusion: Findings from this study will inform our recruitment and interview strategies in future studies with people who have been critically ill, despite relaxations of restrictions related to Covid-19.

Implications for practice: Our findings can be used to guide other qualitative researchers with challenges caused by the pandemic and the sensitive topic. The implications are that researchers can explore innovative ways to recruit participants via hospital/ community staff not usually involved in research. Virtual interviews require additional skills, such as building rapport with participants, and this may require additional training. A distress protocol for participants should always be considered when discussing sensitive topics. Self-care and de-brief strategies for the interviewers are also critical.

Keywordscovid 19; recruitment; interviews; qualitative
Year2023
JournalNurse Researcher
PublisherRCN Publishing
ISSN2047-8992
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Dec 2022
Deposited10 Jan 2023
Accepted author manuscript
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