Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Putting Life in Years (PLINY): Telephone friendship groups research study

The PLINY project has started recruiting participants this month. PLINY is a randomised control trial looking at the effectiveness of telephone friendship groups to improve wellbeing in people aged 75+. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research programme and by Age UK.

The primary aim of the study is to determine whether a measurement of mental wellbeing significantly increases in participants who receive the telephone friendship intervention, compared with a control group who will receive no research intervention.

We also hope to establish whether or not telephone groups have a lasting impact on wellbeing as well as physical health. The study will use qualitative methods to identify any psychosocial and environmental factors, and any implementation issues, that may mediate the effectiveness of the intervention; these findings will be of value to the public and voluntary sector. Finally, economic evaluations will be conducted as there is the potential that an intervention to combat loneliness, like telephone friendship groups, are particularly important in times of limited budgets.

The study is looking to recruit 250 people who are aged 75 years or over, living independently, with good cognitive function and an ability to converse in English.

The intervention is being co-ordinated by Age UK Sheffield who have recruited a number of volunteers to facilitate the groups. Sheffield NHS Trusts and Sheffield City Council are assisting with identification of potential participants. For more information please, look at our project summary.

[Written by Louise Newbould]

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