Background: From diagnosis through to adulthood, a cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) poses a number of challenges for those affected. Alongside the care provided by clinical teams, complementary information and support is offered by charitable organizations. In 2011, the Cleft Lip and Palate Association received funding to implement a new regional service across England and Scotland, with the aim of increasing support at a local level. The Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England were commissioned to conduct an independent evaluation of the service over 7 years. Methods: A pragmatic, mixed-methods approach was utilized to assess the impact of the service from the perspective of charity volunteers; children, young people, and adults with CL/P; caregivers; and clinicians. Feedback forms were distributed to stakeholders at a variety of events, and qualitative feedback was collected via focus groups and an online survey. Results: The majority of participants indicated they had gained access to a local support network, felt more able to cope with CL/P-related challenges, and felt more confident in themselves. Qualitative investigation provided further support for these findings and highlighted additional benefits of the regional service for clinical teams. Conclusions: The evaluation provides encouraging evidence toward the contribution of a relatively small charitable organization in the context of cleft care. The importance of a pragmatic approach to community-based evaluation and the benefits of collaborative working between researchers and the charitable sector were also highlighted.
Stock, N. M., Guest, E., Stoneman, K., Ridley, M., Evans, C., LeRoy, C., …Rumsey, N. (2020). The contribution of a charitable organisation to regional cleft lip and palate services in England and Scotland. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 57(1), 14-20. https://doi.org/10.1177/1055665619862727