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OP97 What’s it like being involved in a community-based physical and social activity programme? A rapid qualitative study of participant and staff perceptions and experiences of an intervention for older adults living with mild frailty
  1. Jennifer Liddle,
  2. Melanie Stowell,
  3. Stephanie Warwick,
  4. Alexandra Thompson,
  5. Barbara Hanratty
  1. Population Health Sciences Institute, NIHR ARC NENC, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK


Background Frailty leads to increased risks of disability and likelihood of falls, admission to hospital, admission to long-term care and death. Interventions to change frailty trajectories are important to ensure that individuals can maintain their health and independence in later life. The Active Ageing Programme (AAP) is a novel community-based intervention for older people with clinical signs of mild frailty. Participants attend 16 weekly sessions (activity + socialising) at a community hub, recruited via routine care pathways. This rapid qualitative study aimed to understand participant and staff perceptions and experiences of the AAP during its pilot phase.

Methods Purposive sampling was used to identify and recruit AAP referral staff, delivery staff, and older programme participants. Topic guides were developed and used to facilitate one-to-one semi-structured interviews. AAP participants were also invited to complete a follow-up interview at the end of the pilot. Reflexive thematic analysis methods were employed, with transcripts coded inductively using NVivo software to support data organisation. Findings are interpreted and discussed in relation to the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), prompting consideration of individual, social and environmental factors influencing changes in behaviour and practice.

Results Ten AAP staff and six programme participants completed interviews. Analysis resulted in three overarching themes: combining key components that prompt engagement; potential to change physical, mental and social factors that impact on frailty trajectories; and communication, structural, and logistical issues challenge the AAP’s success. The programme was viewed as beneficial in its ability and potential to improve physical and mental health and was perceived to increase personal resources. Both staff members and participants viewed the AAP as being acceptable and feasible to continue, with the majority of staff members indicating minimal burden to their current roles. Mapping findings to the TDF highlighted that participants’ social identities remained relatively unchanged by the AAP, with none indicating that the social sessions had impacted their confidence or skills necessary to build or sustain meaningful relationships. However, social influences occurred in other ways e.g. through team-based physical activities.

Conclusion Overall, the AAP was viewed positively by both staff and participants. Findings suggest that, the AAP and similar interventions targeting frailty can be successful and engaging from the perspectives of older adults and delivery staff. Limitations of the study include failure to recruit older adults who declined to take part in the programme. Ways to address identity-related challenges and barriers in these types of programmes require greater consideration.

  • frailty
  • intervention
  • activity

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