Initiatives to successfully improve the acceptance of evidence-based practice in an aid organisation: the example of the Belgian Red Cross




Poster session 1


Sunday 16 September 2018 - 12:30 to 14:00

All authors in correct order:

Avau B1, Borra V2, De Buck E3, Vandekerckhove P4
1 Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Belgian Red Cross, Cochrane Belgium, Belgium
2 Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Belgian Red Cross, Belgium
3 Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Belgian Red Cross, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven, Belgium
4 Belgian Red Cross, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Bert Avau

Contact person:

Abstract text
The Belgian Red Cross (BRC) is an aid organisation with a wide range of activities, from blood collection through first aid education to international development aid. It is a fine example of how the philosophy of evidence-based practice can be implemented in all layers of a multi-faceted organisation.

To demonstrate the different actions taken to implement evidence-based practice within the BRC.

Firstly, the uptake of evidence-based practice has been incorporated in the long-term strategic vision of the BRC since 2010. A top-down managerial focus on evidence-based practice has increased the awareness of employees and volunteers. Newly recruited employees are screened on a positive evidence-based practice attitude. Secondly, a Centre for Evidence-Based Practice (CEBaP) was founded within the BRC in 2009. To date, CEBaP consists of eight highly trained professionals involved with evidence-based practice implementation. Thirdly, employees have the opportunity to receive education on evidence-based practice principles through blended learning, consisting of a newly developed e-learning module (five sessions, 1.5 hours) and a 1.5-hour face-to-face moment with CEBaP. Finally, monthly journal clubs are organised for employees of both the blood collecting and humanitarian services, to gain familiarity with primary research. Employees are stimulated to present and discuss a paper of relevance to their field, with guidance from CEBaP.

In the past five years, 12 evidence-based guidelines and 18 systematic reviews have been developed to support the activities of the BRC and these are applied in practice through manuals, procedures, folders and education. The improved attitude of our employees to evidence-based practice in the past five years is illustrated through the increase in the numbers of project applications (five-fold increase), questions for methodological support (none to seven) and joint research funding requests (none to two). Employees following our courses show increases in evidence-based practice knowledge (median pre 6.5 (interquartile range (IQR) 6 to 7) versus post 9 (IQR 8.75 to 9), P = 0.18) and self-perceived knowledge (pre 2 (IQR 2 to 2) versus post 4 (IQR 4 to 4), P = 0.03), but not attitude, which was already high. Journal clubs show participation from all Red Cross operational services. Overall, a positive evidence-based practice climate is experienced.

Multiple managerial and educational approaches are being used to successfully implement evidence-based practice within the BRC.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:
All BRC guidelines involve consumer views.

Relevance to patients and consumers: 

The Belgian Red Cross is an aid organisation that thrives on volunteers and is rooted deeply in the society. Improving the functioning of our organisation by implementation of evidence-based guidelines and creating awareness on the importance of EBP in all our employees is beneficial for our many volunteers, our consumers. Via this approach they are assisted in providing better help to their fellow citizens in the many activities of our organisation, including first aid provision, blood donation, social care activities, emergency care and humanitarian aid. Via this abstract, we would like to set an example for other aid organisations.