COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND HEALTH
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Phone access may be part of the solution 

Collaborative research project receives funding to help improve remote care for an ageing population

A project, co-led by Associate Professor of Ageing and Rehabilitation, Vicki Goodwin MBE has been awarded £148,000 by the NIHR to develop remote assessments and care for older people living with frailty.

Digital and remote enhancements for the assessment and management of older people living with frailty (DREAM), a collaborative project between the University of Exeter and Kings College London, comes at a time when the population is ageing. For some this can mean having several health problems and difficulty doing everyday things. In addition, COVID-19 has led to fewer face-to-face appointments, meaning that people may not be accessing the best care.

The research aims to develop a process of remote assessment and care called enhanced Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (eCGA). Working with older people, their families, health and social care staff, the team will devise an assessment plan and investigate how it might work in practice. Focussing on how best to meet the needs of older people and their families, the team will consider inequalities such as digital inclusion which might impact on an individual’s ability to access remote services.

Professor Vicki Goodwin said: “This study will give us the opportunity to develop different ways of supporting older people in the community. It will be developed in collaboration with older people and families as well as health and care staff to ensure it is fit for purpose and meets their needs. Despite all of the challenges brought about by the pandemic, it has brought about the opportunity to look at how we deliver health and care now, and in the future, in ways we hadn’t previously considered.”

Dr Julie Whitney, the study co-lead from Kings College London said: “This is an exciting project, seeking to improve the ways in which health and social care professionals support older people in their own homes. We’ll be looking at a range of technologies with the aim of enhancing the quality of information gathered during an assessment as well as improving the experience for older people and their families.”    

The project was developed through the NIHR Clinical Research Network Ageing Specialty. Professor Miles Witham, the National Specialty Lead for Ageing said: “This study is timely, given the need to find innovative ways to meet the huge demand for assessment research that meets the priorities of older people and of the clinical community, and the Ageing Clinical Research Network looks forward to supporting the research team to deliver this work and care for older people that the COVID pandemic has driven. DREAM is an excellent exampleof research that meets the priorities of older people and of the clinical community, and the Ageing Clinical Research Network looks forward to supporting the research team to deliver this work.”

The DREAM Project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care.

Date: 1 December 2021

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