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Title: Evaluating the health effects of a social intervention in older people using an experimental approach
Author: Johnston, Elizabeth Elinor
Awarding Body: Queen's University of Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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Background: There is limited research to show that an increase in income improves health, especially as this relates to the health of older people. It is known that poverty is a real problem for many older people in Northern Ireland. One reason for this is that older people often do not claim the financial benefits for which they are entitled. Methods: The aims ofthis study were to find out ifan increase in income through the take up ofunclaimed financial benefits lead to a significant improvement in the health status ofolder people and discover if this was maintained over a reasonable period oftime. This was a randomised controlled trial based in the community. Patients were recruited from 11 general practices. The intervention consisted of a benefit assessment followed by assistance with the benefit application. A range ofhealth, psycho-social and financial outcomes was measured. Results: A total of 189 patients enrolled at baseline and 149 were followed-up at six months. As a result ofthe study 102 patients received additional benefits amounting to an estimated £338,029.29 per annum. While analysis showed trends suggesting greater improvements in social support and depression scores for the intervention group when compared with control group the differences were not statistically significant. This is probably due to the following factors. The sample size in this study was small because ofproblems with the recruitment and screening ofpatients. More patients in the control group claimed benefits than had been anticipated and as a result it was difficult to detect differences between the two groups. Discussion: Valuable lessons have been learnt and modifications to the study methodology have been suggested that will be of value to other researchers in the UK attempting to undertake similar studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Queen's University of Belfast, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available