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The 'HomeHealth' trial: enabling health and maintaining independence for older people at home

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. 

What is the HomeHealth service?

In the HomeHealth service, a HomeHealth worker will support the person taking part in developing a tailored programme to help them stay healthy and independent. This will be different for everyone but may include:

  • developing a home exercise programme with someone to increase their energy and muscle strength
  • finding ways to manage things that are becoming more of a struggle
  • looking at ways to improve someone’s diet to keep up their energy levels
  • helping find ways of staying connected with the outside world during the pandemic
  • helping someone to plan ahead to keep doing what they want to do.

This will take place over around six appointments for up to six months. This may be at their home, by phone or by videoconference (e.g. zoom), depending on current Covid-19 guidance and the person’s preferences.

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 386 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. For more information, please see our leaflets below. You can also contact us on homehealth@ucl.ac.uk.

  

For further scientific information, please view our trials register entry or study protocol. The HomeHealth RCT will run 2020-2023.

HomeHealth

This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (NIHR128334). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

NIHR

News and Updates

18/01/2021 – We have recruited our first participant into the HomeHealth trial!

20/05/2021 - We have recruited our 50th participant!

13/07/2021 - We have recruited our 100th participant!

Publications

You can find the latest version of our protocol here.

We also reviewed remote health promotion interventions for frail older people in order to inform how we could adapt HomeHealth for remote delivery during Covid-19.