From May to September 2021, we ran a pilot and feasibility study of the OPTIMA programme. This was designed to find out if we could successfully recruit parents to the OPTIMA trial and also to test out whether the way we plan to run the trial would be acceptable to parents.
Forty-eight families took part in the pilot study. These families were recruited from the waiting lists of selected child and adolescent mental health services, or behavioural support services, the same way we will recruit families for the trial. All those who took part were waiting for a formal assessment for their child.
Sixteen families went on to try the STEPS app. More information on the app can be found here, but briefly, it has been designed to help parents of children with behaviour that is difficult to manage. The feedback from parents who used STEPS was generally very positive, for example:
“It was great to see videos of other parents going through the same thing and also having that personal support.”
“It’s very useful if parents/carers etc. are new to this journey…”
We would like to thank everyone involved with the OPTIMA pilot and feasibility study. Their contribution has helped us to shape the programme and the app for the full randomised control trial, which will start in April 2022. This has the potential to improve the lives of many families who are on the services waiting lists.