Background: Study feasibility and deliverability can benefit from involving patients and carers in the research process, known as patient and public involvement (PPI). There is less evidence on the experiences of patients and carers themselves and we require more information across a range of studies, health conditions and research stages.
Aims: This study explored how patients and carers in eight diagnostic research specialties have been involved in research, their motivations and the impact involvement had on them.
Method: 143 patients and carers across the Clinical Research Network (CRN) responded to an online semi-structured questionnaire (developed using participatory methodology). Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed.
Results: A range of benefits were reported, including providing a life focus and an improved relationship with illness. Less positive experiences regarding time and money and lack of acknowledgement were also reported, along with suggestions for improvement.
Conclusions: PPI confers many benefits on patients and carers which could increase PPI recruitment if made explicit. More involvement in study recruitment and dissemination would increase the effectiveness of PPI input. Involving a more varied socioeconomic demographic and at an earlier stage is vital. Financial support for lower earners and greater feedback following involvement should also be explored.