Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Recruiting Older Adults, Caregivers for Research (Research, Gerontology Video 1:57)

Recruiting older adults for research can get complicated if those being recruited can’t drive, have no transportation, don’t feel well, are easily confused, have busy caregivers, and distrust strangers asking them certain questions. One place to start is to decide on the best way to deliver a recruitment appeal that would entice them to respond and cooperate. Letters and phone calls come to mind.

This study on recruiting older adults for research compared the results of using two versions of a letter followed by two versions of a phone call with the cooperation rate of their doing face to face surveys. A total of 2,014 caregiving units (composed of an older adult, a family member and a home care worker) were randomly sampled from a list of long-term care insurance beneficiaries. Of this group, 74.32% of the sampled caregiving units were eligible to participate in the study. These are the three types of appeals used:

1)   Group 1 received formal written and oral appeals and an advanced letter followed by a recruitment phone call.
2)   Group 2 received the original formal letter, but a revised, more personal recruitment phone call that included broader and more positive information.
3)   Group 3 received both a revised advanced letter and a revised more personal recruitment phone call.

What were the results in terms of cooperation?

1)   Group 1: The cooperation rate for the formal written and oral appeal was about 50% for the entire caregiving unit.
2)   Group 2: The revised advanced letter and revised, more personal recruitment phone call yielded an increase of 20-25% in the cooperation rate for the entire caregiving unit.
3)   Group 3: Using the original advanced letter and the revised, more personal recruitment phone call yielded an increase in the cooperation rate only among migrant home care workers.

    Conclusion: By changing the format of appeal, the cooperation rate of older adults and their caregivers in a research survey can be increased. This study also pointed out the importance of sending an advance letter.

The Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan brings together science and service to advance the cause of aging research. Its multidisciplinary faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and pre-doctoral trainees focus on the social and behavioral aspects of lifespan health and cognitive development. Dedicated to promoting successful aging, the Institute of Gerontology combines research and outreach to make life better for older adults everywhere. This video features many fine aspects of the program.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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