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£2 million grant to improve rehabilitation of older people after discharge from hospital

Posted on March 24th 2017

A team of researchers specialising in care for older people, including PenCLAHRC Senior Research Fellow Dr Vicki Goodwin, have received £2 million of funding from the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme to conduct a five year national study looking at how rehabilitation can be improved for older people with frailty, following discharge from hospital after an acute illness or injury.

The study, known as HERO (Home-based Extended Rehabilitation of Older people), will involve 718 older people with frailty admitted to hospital following acute illness or injury. Participants will be recruited across ten hospitals within Yorkshire and the South West of England over 23 months, with recruitment staggered to accommodate an internal pilot.

The overall aim is to investigate whether an extended rehabilitation programme using a home-based exercise intervention developed for older people with frailty improves health-related quality of life.

Dr Goodwin said:

“This is a hugely important study which we hope will help physiotherapists improve care and outcomes for frail older people after they are discharged from hospital.”

The project is led by Dr Andrew Clegg at the Academic Unit of Elderly Care and Rehabilitation (AUECR), and involves the University of Leeds based at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, the Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU) at Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research, the University of Exeter Medical School, and the Academic Unit of Health Economics at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences.

Dr Clegg, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Geriatrician at the AUECR and NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber said:

“We are very excited about this major project because it will provide robust evidence on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a home-based exercise intervention as extended rehabilitation for older people with frailty following discharge from hospital.


"We have chosen quality of life as our main outcome of importance for older people, and will also collect detailed information on health and social care resource use. The work is therefore of considerable importance for older people, their families, the NHS, and social care services. ”

The research, which is to commence immediately, is due to complete in May 2021.