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Torbay Hospital Deliver Research At Home for Self-Isolating Patients

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The Rheumatology Team at Torbay Hospital have changed how they are delivering research to keep trials going and ensure patients continue to have access to research opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Working in conjunction with the commercial sponsor Janssen, the R&D Department has found new ways of working and has continued to deliver the COSMOS Study.

The primary purpose of the COSMOS Study is to evaluate the efficacy of Guselkumab versus placebo in patients with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) who have had an inadequate response to Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-alpha) therapy, by assessing the reduction in signs and symptoms of joint disease.

Alex Redome, Senior Research Nurse – Rheumatology, describes how the team took a new approach to delivering the study for their patients in the face of challenges presented by Covid-19.

“Our R&D Department had to carefully plan on how best to manage the situation in line with research governance. Since our rheumatology research patients are self-isolating due to Covid-19, it was agreed that we can send the trial medications to patients’ homes and complete remote telephone visits and follow-up calls. For patients who were not capable of self-administering their medication; home visits with proper precautionary measures where completed. The drug companies approved this management plan and have provided protocol amendments for us to carry-out the remote follow-up procedures.”

From left to right: Alex Redome (Senior Research Nurse – Rheumatology), Dr Kirsten Mackay (Consultant Rheumatologist and Principal Investigator for Rheumatology Clinical Trials), Raine Thornton (Research Coordinator – Rheumatology).

Despite urgent public health Covid-19 research studies being given priority status, the team at Torbay Hospital where determined to continue to maintain medication and follow up appointment for patients who were already on the trial. This was balanced against setting up new Covid-19 research studies and helping the acute hospital service.

The patients’ needs and quality of life were put at the centre of decision making and research clinic follow-ups of patients on the active treatment phase of the rheumatology clinical trials were scheduled to coincide with their follow-ups with the Rheumatology Service.