A team from the East Midlands, led by Dr Kate Radford, did a fine job in hosting the SRR summer meeting with a great venue on the University of Nottingham campus, a wonderful programme with a range of topics and speakers, and some undeniably fine cheesecake. 

The title for the day was ‘Research across the rehabilitation spectrum from preventing decline to return to work’ and the two symposia focused on separate aspects of this.  In the first, Professor Maud Graff gave a fascinating talk on developing community based occupational therapy interventions in dementia patients, discussing the importance of integrating the patients’, carers’ and occupational therapists’ ‘stories’ to enable the most suitable programmes and optimise outcome, and also discussed some of the difficulties and differences in implementing programmes between different centres, countries and cultures. Professor Rowan Harwood took to the platform next. His discussion of ‘No rehab potential’, using as a springboard a case presentation of a demented gentleman who was deemed ‘not fit for rehab’ yet responded to a slow ‘unofficial’ rehabilitation programme on a DME ward, was thought-provoking and perhaps best described by an audience member as an elegant mix of ‘humanity and erudition’.

The audience was then treated to a mix of free research presentations, ranging from an intriguing study of gait variability in older women with bladder instability, apparently waiting for subjects to reach a ‘strong desire to void’ meant that the gait analysis area had to be sited en route to the bathroom!, to a demonstration of the sometimes thankless task given to Cochrane reviewers, as a literature search of nearly 2000 papers boiled down to just one useable study!

The SRR Business meeting welcomed 20 new members and discussed recent developments, including responses to the NICE Stroke Rehab Guidelines, raising the profile of the SRR and the exciting prospect of a new website – coming soon, hopefully!

Lunch and poster tours were equally enjoyable, for slightly different reasons. The breadth of completed and ongoing work in the posters was exciting, including topics as diverse as mindfulness and yoga, functional MRI in TBI and correlations between spasticity and upper limb function following stroke.

Professor Marion Walker had the challenge of addressing a post-prandial auditorium and started by reminding us of Philip Nichols’ BMJ article – ‘Those who are constitutionally fat die more quickly than those who are thin’ and inducing some guilty shuffling from myself, at least. Her talk on ‘Progress in rehabilitation research: what have we learnt from the RCT? Where to from here?’ was a wonderful overview of some of the developments and challenges seen in stroke research over the past few years, with a look towards challenges for the future.

Professor Jan Ekholm took up the baton for the second symposium, discussing ‘Vocational rehabilitation: the role of health, the evidence and the future?’ with an overview of the key interactions between health, work and society. The relationship between Swedish vocational rehabilitationists and the government is clearly much closer than in the UK and potential reasons and solutions (more and less light-hearted) were discussed.

The final free research session included the results of a postal survey of occupational therapists’ roles in returning to work and a study on gait and turning in stroke patients.  Overall, it appears that switching to a one-day format for the meeting was a great success. There was plenty of stimulating debate and some outstanding presentations. Congratulations to the organising committee and all presenters.

The next planned SRR meeting will be held in London on February 4 2014.

ACNR 2013;13:5:37