Research in Gerontological Nursing

Special Focus: Recruitment Challenges 

The Costs of Recruiting: Reflections of a Bean Counter

Catherine S. Cole, PhD, ACNS-BC; Cathy Doan, BS; Nola Ballinger; Ginger Brown, MS

Abstract

Although information on the costs of participant recruitment for large-scale clinical trials has been published, the information may not be applicable to small feasibility studies. To determine the most effective recruitment strategy for a feasibility study that sought to adapt laboratory measurement of simple reaction times of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to the home, we adapted a metric developed by Chin Feman et al. We recruited individuals with mild to moderate dementia from (a) enrollees in a Memory Research Center, (b) AD support groups, (c) the senior clinic at our university, and (d) senior citizen housing units. We compared costs and enrollment rates associated with various recruitment strategies and found that recruitment through the Memory Research Center was most effective (enrollment rate = 66.7%, salary costs = $49.47 per participant). These findings have implications for investigators preparing budgets for small feasibility studies involving populations with dementia.

Abstract

Although information on the costs of participant recruitment for large-scale clinical trials has been published, the information may not be applicable to small feasibility studies. To determine the most effective recruitment strategy for a feasibility study that sought to adapt laboratory measurement of simple reaction times of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to the home, we adapted a metric developed by Chin Feman et al. We recruited individuals with mild to moderate dementia from (a) enrollees in a Memory Research Center, (b) AD support groups, (c) the senior clinic at our university, and (d) senior citizen housing units. We compared costs and enrollment rates associated with various recruitment strategies and found that recruitment through the Memory Research Center was most effective (enrollment rate = 66.7%, salary costs = $49.47 per participant). These findings have implications for investigators preparing budgets for small feasibility studies involving populations with dementia.

Authors

Dr. Cole is Assistant Professor, and Ms. Doan, Ms. Ballinger, and Ms. Brown are Research Assistants, College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity. The project described was supported by Award Number UL1RR029884 from the National Center for Research Resources. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Research Resources or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additional sources of support include NIH (P20 NR009006), NIH (K23 NR009492), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (RR20146), and NIH-Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD055269 and HD055677).

Address correspondence to Catherine S. Cole, PhD, ACNS-BC, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham Street, Slot 529, Little Rock, AR 72205; e-mail: colecatherine@uams.edu.

Received: April 20, 2009
Accepted: June 23, 2009
Posted Online: September 03, 2009

10.3928/19404921-20090803-02

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