As we age, we often experience increasing difficulties that might include becoming tired more easily, feeling weaker, not enjoying our food quite as much, feeling low, finding it harder to get outdoors regularly or needing support with everyday tasks such as lifting heavy shopping. It is important for the NHS to find better ways to support our health and well-being at an early stage to enable us to remain as active and independent for as long as possible.
We designed the HomeHealth service in 2014-2015 in partnership with older people, carers, health and social care professionals and experts. It aims to help people aged 65+ who are starting to find everyday activities more difficult to stay independent and healthy for as long as possible. The study aimed to help people from different backgrounds, so we purposively tried to engage and recruit people into the study from different genders, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, sexualities, and geographical locations. Participants were recruited in Primary Care, through GP practicies, community organisations, and sheltered housing.
We piloted the HomeHealth service in two different areas in 2015-2017. The new service was well received and showed promise at keeping people independent. We are now testing it on a larger scale in a research trial with 388 people across London, Hertfordshire and Yorkshire to see if it makes a significant difference to the people who use it, and if it proves to be good value if it were to be commissioned by the NHS.
In our research study, half of the people who take part will receive the HomeHealth service, and half will receive usual care. Researchers will contact people at the start and after 6 and 12 months of being in the study to measure people’s independence, quality of life, well-being and use of health and social care, to look for changes.