1 July 2019

How to be Part of the BACE:C-A Study

In the February edition of The Australia Chiropractor we introduced members to the BAck Complaints in Elders: Chiropractic-Australia (BACE:C-A) study, led by Dr Katie de Luca as part of an international consortium studying back pain in older adults. The study is now ready to begin recruiting chiropractors who are interested in engaging in practice-based research which will contribute to building an evidence base in chiropractic care for older adults. 

To recap, the BACE:C-A study is a prospective, longitudinal study on back pain in older adults. The study will follow adults over the age of 55 who see a chiropractor for a new episode of back pain for 12 months. The study will report healthcare utilisation in older people with back pain and determine predictors of disability in this population. It will collect vital information on the safety and satisfaction of chiropractic care for the treatment of low back pain in older people. The BACE:C-A study is purely observational, with no change in practice required from chiropractors. 

BACE:C-A has made great progress since receiving funding from ACA at the beginning of the year. Dr de Luca and Australian co-investigator Professor Simon French were able to meet with all the international collaborators in person at the WFC Conference in Berlin to discuss developments of the international consortium BACE: Chiropractic. Here Dr de Luca was able to engage in a valuable learning experience, by discussing the successes and failures of other BACE:Chiropractic studies to take into consideration for the Australian study. 

In June, a full-time research assistant was welcomed to the team. Lucy Mort was selected out of more than 30 applicants to take on the role and has a very extensive background in research, especially in conducting longitudinal studies. Her role will consist of the everyday running of the trial, including training chiropractors and their administration staff, liaising with patients and managing the database. 

“Lucy is a very experienced, compassionate and highly efficient research assistant. She will likely be the first point of contact for both chiropractors and participants in the study.” Dr de Luca said. 

Dr de Luca is also happy to announce that they have been granted ethics approval from Macquarie University. 

“It was a rigorous and tedious process, but institutional Ethics approval is essential for any research project. This now allows us to move forward in regards to recruiting chiropractors and their older patients with back pain.” 

Interested chiropractors are invited to contact the BACE:C-A team to express their interest in participating. The study is particularly interested in hearing from chiropractors who feel they have a high number of older patients, particularly older people who are new patients.

“We are also looking to recruit chiropractors from all over Australia. I am particularly interested in regional and remote chiropractors, to see the difference in healthcare use and explore health inequities in their patients compared to metropolitan patients,” Dr de Luca added.  

What do chiropractors have to do? 

As this is an observational study, chiropractors will be asked to provide care as they normally would. Data will be collected from the patient prior to any treatment provided by the chiropractor, and then the BACE:C-A team will independently survey the participant six times throughout the year. The type of care and duration will be determined by the patient and chiropractor and once a patient has been invited to enter the study, the chiropractor should continue to provide care as normal. 

What do patients have to do? 

The type of patients that are required for the study are those who are aged 55 years and over, who present with a new episode of low back pain. Eligible older patients will be provided with an information sheet and consent form by the administration staff (where possible) and then asked to complete an online survey in the clinic. Study participants will then be contacted via phone by the BACE:C-A team to confirm the details of the study. Participants will be sent six surveys over the course of 12 months, answering questions related to healthcare use and their pain experience. They too will not be asked to do anything differently to what they normally would, they will simply be observed to see the impact of back pain on older people. 

BACE:C-A needs 1,000 older adults with low back pain in their study, so they hope to have around 25 chiropractors as a part of the BACE:C-A team. This is a wonderful opportunity for chiropractors to engage in research process.

“As a researcher, the clinics of chiropractors are the greatest opportunity that we have to collect data on chiropractic patients. This is the first study of its kind in Australia, and I hope that chiropractors will engage with researchers as opportunities for practice-based research arise. These are very exciting times, and I am looking forward to working with Australian chiropractors to collect valuable patient data.” 

If you wish to be a part of the BACE:C-A team, please email Katie or Lucy at [email protected]