The life of a participant in clinical trials in NZ gives individuals the opportunity to take part in research that could improve many people’s lives. Participating in a clinical trial in NZ can vary depending on the type of trial and its objectives, and medical trials can be from one day to up to 18 days with follow-up visits.

Facilities for clinical studies in NZ must meet regulatory requirements and standards for patient safety, confidentiality, and data protection, and be staffed with trained professionals to ensure the highest quality care for participants.

NZCR clinical research participants stay at either the Christchurch or Auckland Clinical Trials state-of-the-art facilities where they are closely monitored and cared for by professionals.

You will be invited to take part in medical trials in NZ if you meet the specific criteria for a trial. At NZCR, we run many different clinical research studies requiring different types of participants, and it is important that you are screened and meet all the study requirements. Just because you may not qualify for one trial, doesn’t preclude you from other trials.

Before you start an NZ Clinical Trial

Before you start the trial, you will be given a lot of information about the clinical study and what to expect. This includes:

  • What are the aims of this study? What is being studied? How will it help me or others?
  • What happens if I need to stop taking part in this study or if something affects my health while taking part in this study? Are there any risks associated with taking part in this study? How will they be managed by researchers and staff members at NZCR?
  • What will be the different tests I will encounter?

The person supervising your participation will also answer any questions you may have about your rights as an individual participant in research. Very occasionally, there are potential side effects or other risks associated with the treatment, and the medical team will take you through all this prior to the clinical trial.

Before you are accepted onto a trial, you will have undergone a thorough health screening where you will undergo a medical and eligibility assessment to further determine your suitability for a trial.

What you can expect during your Clinical Research stay

Arrival and check-in

The journey starts with your arrival and check-in at the front desk where you will complete the necessary paperwork, such as consent forms, and provide identification to confirm your identity.

Here, you collect your study workbook which holds all the information about the medical trial you are taking part in. Once you are registered, you make your way to the participants’ area which includes ward-type beds, a dining room, and a lounge area with Wi-Fi, TV, and gaming stations.

Trial dosing and follow-up

All trials follow a strict routine of medication, check-ups, and meals, but there is also plenty of free time to relax, work or study. We start with the NZ clinical trials staff explaining the details of the trial, including the intervention, the study schedule, and any potential side effects or risks involved.

The trial will include tests and procedures. These are generally routine blood tests, x-rays, or scans, or having your blood pressure checked to establish a baseline for comparison during the trial.

Then it’s straight into the trial proper with the taking of the medication. Participants receive either the experimental treatment or a control (a placebo or the current standard of care medication) and are monitored for any side effects. This is either taken orally or through injection, depending on the trial.

What can you do in your free time?

Participants of clinical studies in NZ are unable to leave the facility during the “in-stay” part of the trial.  But this means you have the chance to take time out of your busy schedule and relax at the facility. We have free Ultra-fast Wi-Fi so you can work or study, and you can also enjoy our library, video games, and TV (including Netflix and Sky).

Mealtime is important with Medical Trials NZ

NZCR provides all meals, carefully planned by a nutritionist, at predetermined times. We consider your dietary requirements and provide both meat and vegetarian options. Meals are a carefully monitored part of the trial as food intake can impact the accuracy of the results of the trials.

There are many factors that can affect how well a clinical trial works, so it’s important for the facility to be able to provide you with a variety of delicious food. If you have any dietary requirements or preferences, please inform the team before signing up.

Your food is prepared and served by qualified staff, who ensure that you have plenty to eat. The Auckland clinical trials facility will also provide snacks. These will be provided in between meals and at the end of each day.

A typical day for clinical trials participants

  • Wake up at 6:00 am
  • Take your medication if required (note dose times may vary)
  • Eat breakfast (you can also have a cup of coffee)
  • Go to the testing area and do any required tests, which will take anywhere between 5 minutes and 3 hours. Most tests are short so you’ll have time to check emails or do some activities.
  • Eat lunch (you can also have another cup of coffee).
  • Free time! Have a nap, catch up on work, or chill out with other participants
  • You may be required to do some more tests – your workbook will detail the time you need to do these.
  • Eat dinner and enjoy the baking for dessert! Catch a Netflix movie or play some cards.
  • Lights out at 10:00 pm – there’s a reading lamp should you wish to catch up on a novel!

Not all clinical trial participants are made of stern stuff. We know that many participants have demanding jobs and family commitments, so we try to make the in-stay experience as enjoyable as possible. Our facilities are relaxing, comfortable and calming — places where you can chill and take time out from your busy life.

After leaving the facility, participants normally have regular follow-up appointments with trial staff to check their health and collect data. These follow-up visits are dependent on the requirements of the study trial.

Time to relax and recover

Now that you’re done with your clinical trial, it’s time to relax and return to normal life. Most people find that they return to the rhythm of normal life within a few days of completing their trial. If you have any questions or concerns though, you can still contact us at any time!

Clinical Research is vitally important

We hope you now understand the daily life of a clinical trial participant staying at our facility. It’s not just about taking your medication, which is important, but also about getting adequate rest and eating a healthy diet. We also want to make sure you have time for yourself, so we encourage all participants to spend some time each day relaxing in the lounge and getting to know the other participants – or in quiet spaces enjoying a book or music (just remember your headphones!).

Participating in clinical research can be a big commitment, but the benefits can be rewarding. Depending on the trial, participants may receive early access to new treatments or medications and close monitoring of their health. You will have opportunity to participate in trials of new medicines which can lead to health improvements. Plus you will receive a comprehensive medical check-up.

Taking part in a clinical trial can be a way for individuals to contribute to medical research and potentially receive help from new treatments, but it’s important you consider the risks and rewards of participating – and if you have any concerns, discuss them with our team, or your healthcare provider.

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