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Specifying the content of home-based health behaviour change interventions for older people with frailty or at risk of frailty: an exploratory systematic review

09 Feb 2017

Objectives

To identify trials of home-based health behaviour change interventions for frail older people, describe intervention content and explore its potential contribution to intervention effects.

Design

15 bibliographic databases, and reference lists and citations of key papers, were searched for randomised controlled trials of home-based behavioural interventions reporting behavioural or health outcomes.

Setting

Participants' homes.

Participants

Community-dwelling adults aged ≥65 years with frailty or at risk of frailty.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

Trials were coded for effects on thematically clustered behavioural, health and well-being outcomes. Intervention content was described using 96 behaviour change techniques, and 9 functions (eg, education, environmental restructuring).

Results

19 eligible trials reported 22 interventions. Physical functioning was most commonly assessed (19 interventions). Behavioural outcomes were assessed for only 4 interventions. Effectiveness on most outcomes was limited, with at most 50% of interventions showing potential positive effects on behaviour, and 42% on physical functioning. 3 techniques (instruction on how to perform behaviour, adding objects to environment, restructuring physical environment) and 2 functions (education and enablement) were more commonly found in interventions showing potential than those showing no potential to improve physical function. Intervention content was not linked to effectiveness on other outcomes.

Conclusions

Interventions appeared to have greatest impact on physical function where they included behavioural instructions, environmental modification and practical social support. Yet, mechanisms of effects are unclear, because impact on behavioural outcomes has rarely been considered. Moreover, the robustness of our findings is also unclear, because interventions have been poorly reported. Greater engagement with behavioural science is needed when developing and evaluating home-based health interventions.

PROSPERO registration number

ID=CRD42014010370

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open