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Health risk assessments may benefit older people

28th October 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A study in Switzerland has found that older people taking part in health risk assessments were more likely to have better health. Almost 900 adults over the age of 65 were asked to fill out a questionnaire, in return for an individualised computer-generated feedback report. They were also visited by nurse councillors once every three to six months, in order to reinforce the preventative care suggested in the reports. For example, someone who was struggling with mobility difficulty such as a stairlift user would be advised on how to reduce risks, and improve their situation.

Each person was analysed on an individual basis, with counsellors identifying the most important risk factors, and providing solutions to the potential problems. An example given by Reuters says that a person with low physical activity who experienced pain, would have been helped to find a way to manage the pain, before being encouraged to begin physical activity.

Risk assessment proved to have positive effects

At the end of the two year study, the researchers compared the risk assessment group to 1000 similar adults who had not received the same treatment. The results showed that those who had taken part in the risk assessment were better off, with seventy per cent of those assessed being physically active, in comparison with 62 per cent of those who had not been assessed.

The study ended in 2002, and while long-term outcomes like nursing home admission or functional status are not available, the researchers estimated that 5 per cent more of the assessed group were still alive after eight years.

Due to these results, it has been stated that older people between ages of 60 and 65 should be offered health risk assessment, in order to improve well-being in later life. The cost of the feedback reports is just $30 and takes about an hour to do, although this does not include the price of individualised counselling.

Image Credit: Myfuture.com (flickr.com)