Barriers to recruitment of children with cerebral palsy in a trial of home-based training

L. W. M. E. Beckers*, E. A. A. Rameckers, R. J. E. M. Smeets, J. J. W. van der Burg, P. B. M. Aarts, M. L. A. P. Schnackers, Y. J. M. Janssen-Potten

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many trials fail to include the targeted number of participants, causing scientific and ethical problems. The COAD trial of home-based training programs (HBTPs) for children with unilateral cerebral palsy (CP) encountered recruitment problems, even though the parent-delivered home-based approach complies with recent health-care developments in the Netherlands. The current project aimed to identify the barriers to recruitment in the COAD trial. This summative, multidimensional evaluation comprised informal conversational interviews in which stakeholders who had been involved reflected on the factors that impeded successful recruitment of participants into the COAD trial. Barriers to implementation and recruitment were clustered according to the constructs of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). Member checking validated the findings. A total of 41 stakeholders contributed to the evaluation. Barriers to the implementation of the HBTPs were identified within every domain of the CFIR (intervention characteristics, outer setting, inner setting, characteristics of individuals, and process). Parent-delivered home-based training was perceived as highly complex and in conflict with the pressures on and the needs of parents. Many parents preferred the alternative center-based group interventions. The involvement of a resonance group was highly valued, and opportunities for further enhancements emerged. Additionally, the importance of research consortia was emphasized. The appropriateness of the RCT as the study design was criticized. The findings of this study are summarized in a tool which provides a dozen directions for the successful recruitment of participants in pediatric rehabilitation research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100371
Number of pages9
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Recruitment
  • Implementation
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Home-based training
  • Multidimensional evaluation
  • Cerebral palsy


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