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Praxis service user in wall climbing activity

Research & Innovation

Commitment to Innovation, Research and Excellence

Praxis Care has an established Research Department that conducts a wide range of in-house and commissioned research in the area of learning disabilities, mental health, elderly, acquired brain injury and other health and social care issues.

The Department has carried out research on topics such as self-advocacy and user involvement, community health needs, volunteer befriending, alcohol related brain injury and has evaluated various models of service provision.

Our current research programme includes work within the following areas: personality disorder, forensic services, positive behaviour support and autism. The research department also regularly works with experts by experience or co-researchers on many of its research projects and is keen to encourage and support staff and service users to get actively involved in proposing, designing and conducting research. The Department has an inclusive and participatory approach to research and we prioritise studies that are aimed at improving outcomes for service users.

Our current research highlights include the following projects:

Our Research Projects


Research Focused on the Praxis Model of Care

Praxis Care has commissioned a series of studies to explore the key components and effectiveness of their services for people with very high levels of complex needs. This research involves a combination of methods to explore services providing very intensive support and to establish what works for whom in what types of setting.

This work is ongoing.


Reviews of the Existing Evidence on the Effectiveness of Praxis Care’s Interventions

We have an ongoing process of identifying and synthesising the existing, international evidence for interventions that are being provided by Praxis Care and new approaches that could be introduced. This aspect of the research programme involves scoping, narrative and systematic reviews of the research evidence.

Three rapid reviews are available here:

Personality Disorder Services

Positive Behaviour Support

Forensic Services


Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

This staff led initiative is evaluating the impact of a training course on mental wellbeing in the workplace. The aim is to further support the mental health and wellbeing of everyone who works for Praxis Care. The evaluation is using a quasi-experimental design to provide data on how effective the training is.

This work is ongoing.


Implementing the Mental Capacity Act (NI) 2016

The implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 provides some excellent opportunities for the development of progressive approaches to supporting people whose ability to make decisions may be impaired. This aspect of the research programme is using a co-produced approach to explore people’s experiences of making decisions and how Praxis staff can help support people in those processes.

The report and two presentations are available here:

Supported Decision Making Report

Supported Decision Making Easy Read Report

Presentation of the Findings

Presentation on Co-Production by Co-Researchers

A peer-reviewed paper on Service users’ experiences and views of support for decision‐making is available online.

A peer reviewed paper on the ‘Key components of supporting and assessing decision making ability’ is available online


Exploring how to Engage People in Positive Physical Activity

Praxis Care provides support for people’s needs including their physical health. This co-produced project is exploring ways to engage people in physical activity with the aim of improving their physical health but also their mental health and quality of life.

Please see below outputs from this project:


Promoting Service User Involvement in Research

A key component of Praxis Care’s research programme is the involvement of people with lived experience of mental health problems and/or intellectual disabilities in identifying priorities for research, designing studies, conducting research and disseminating the findings. This is an exciting, innovative and central aspect of the research programme.

Praxis Care’s co-researchers have worked as an integral part of the research team on studies of supported decision making and physical activity for people with mental ill health. Praxis Care is therefore committed to working with experts by experience in order to ensure that our research is inclusive, relevant and impactful.


Green and Blue Spaces: How being outdoors can benefit our mental health

A co-produced research project which looks at the following:

  1. How do people with serious and enduring mental illness (SMI) perceive, use and benefit from green and blue spaces?
  2. Does the interaction with green and blue spaces differ between people with SMIs and the general population?

This work is ongoing.


Scoping Review: Physical design of supported accommodation for people with mental health problems, intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviour

Presentation on design, mental health and intellectual disabilities

This work is ongoing.


Social Value

A project to design an economic model which will investigate how  Praxis Care adds value to the lives of the people with whom it works.

This work is ongoing.

Praxis Image

Our Research Team

We support innovative research opportunities and actively promote evidence based practice.

Our research on topics such as self-advocacy and user involvement, community health needs, volunteer befriending, alcohol related brain injury, and has evaluated various models of service provision.

Our Research Team

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