Identifying best-practice amongst health professionals who work with people using image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) through participatory action research / Katinka van de Ven, Ian Boardley, Martin Chandler. - (Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health (2021) 1 April)
- DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2021.1898457
The use of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs), such as anabolic-androgenic steroids to grow muscle mass, is a growing public health concern in the UK and across the globe. An important indicator is the rapid rise of people who inject steroids accessing needle and syringe programmes (NSPs). However, NSP workers and other health professionals often report having a lack of knowledge regarding IPEDs, and not feeling confident when engaging with this group. Adding to this is a lack of evidence-based educational/training materials, making it difficult for health professionals to improve their skills in this area. Using a participatory action research approach (PAR), we collaborated with health professionals who had experience in working with this client group (n=52), particularly NSP staff, to address this knowledge gap. Consistent with our PAR approach, health professionals were involved in all stages of this research, from establishing the research questions through to disseminating the findings. To identify current best practices, a workshop was organised to collaboratively determine approaches to improve professional development in this area and to ultimately facilitate better engagement with people who use IPEDs. The participating health professionals described issues and solutions in relation to the collection of clinical data, staff training, client contact and service provision – with community engagement being mentioned as a key element to improve and create awareness of health services, and to strengthen community partnerships. By adopting a PAR approach, we have co-produced guidance on effective engagement with consumers that is both evidence-based and experience-informed.