News & Events

Celebrating successful recruitment in the Lifestyle in Later Life – Older People

In the AGE Research Group we are excited to celebrate the UN International Day of Older Persons on 1st October. We were keen to highlight the success to date in recruiting to one of the current studies being run by our group: the Lifestyle in Later Life – Older People’s Medicine (LiLL-OPM) Study.

Despite recent progress, older people remain less likely to be included in research and it is crucial that this improves if we are to have good evidence on which to base clinical care. This can particularly be the case for older people living with frailty and multiple long-term conditions, who may be even less likely to be included in research. With funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) we set-up the LiLL-OPM Study and one of the study’s aims is to improve our understanding of how best to include older people in research.

The study is recruiting participants from the Belsay Day Unit, run by the department of Older People’s Medicine at Newcastle Hospitals (https://www.newcastle-hospitals.nhs.uk/services/older-peoples-medicine/day-units/). The Day Unit sees older people for a range of reasons including specialist management of frailty and multiple long-term conditions, and older people who have had a recent change in their health.

Richard Dodds, NIHR Newcastle BRC Intermediate Clinical Fellow and an Honorary Consultant Geriatrician at Newcastle Hospitals, commented:

“In my clinical practice I see older adults living with frailty and multiple long-term conditions. This group has been under-represented in medical research to date. So, I am really glad we are running the LiLL-OPM Study which will help us to improve the design of future research and hopefully address this gap.”

Lorelle Dismore, Research Associate in the AGE Research Group, commented further:

“This is a rewarding project to be working on with older adults who are under-served by research. It’s really important that we capture the views of this group so we can aim to become more inclusive by designing research that suits their needs.”

The LiLL-OPM study invites older adults living with frailty and multiple long-term conditions to take part in interviews and a questionnaire to understand their health and lifestyle. If relevant, carers of older adults are being asked if they would also like to be involved in the research.

The first older adult who took part provided feedback on their positive experience of being approached to take part in the research:

“I’ve been very impressed by the way in which, we haven’t simply been dismissed…I’ve been spoken to as somebody of equal standing…the Day Unit centre, you too, have been very good in the way in which you approached me, and that’s made a lot of difference, it means that I’m interested in cooperating. I mean well the Day Unit I’ve been sent there for a reason, obviously, so I want to cooperate and try to help my balance, but I think that’s very important the way in which people are treated”

Older adults are able to take part from the comfort of their own home with visits from the researcher, or alternatively assessments can be completed over the telephone.

So far, we have successfully recruited 11 older adults and 2 carers who have shared their views on approaches to research recruitment and data collection methods as well as completing a health and lifestyle questionnaire. A carer of an older person shared their views of their relative’s involvement in research and in particular, the convenience of home-based assessments:

 “She would find it very difficult to go somewhere generally because she doesn’t walk well. So, it seems to be like something home based would be better for you, I mean you can go somewhere if someone takes you but obviously, you’re entirely dependent on transport”

The older adult participants have also shared their thoughts and attitudes towards physical activity and exercise and their overall experiences of taking part in the research:

“You get a bit of self-satisfaction that you’ve done something you’ve spared the time, other people’s come to see you and it’s all for the benefit of the whole community it’s not just yourself”

The participants have valued spending time with a researcher; they described feeling at ease, being able to ask questions and they enjoyed the company:

“Well just the chat really because when I go to the other place [Physiotherapy sessions], we have a bit of chat but it’s mostly doing the exercises and that and it just, you feel like you can get things off your chest and that and just ask what you want, so I quite enjoyed that”

We look forward to sharing the findings from the research soon. We would like to express our gratitude to the study participants, their carers, and the team at the Belsay Day Unit for their support with the study.

Invesitgator and participant                        LiLL-OPM participants      ‌       
Richard Dodds (study investigator) with one of the LiLL-OPM study participants     Two participants in the LiLL-OPM study
 

                                                                        

Last modified: Thu, 30 Sep 2021 09:39:58 BST