Methodological considerations in the study of frail elderly people


Dr J Bowsher, Assistant Professor, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912-4210, USA


The purpose of this paper is to increase the awareness of gerontological nurse researchers about methodological, theoretical and ethical issues that are unique and critical to the study of frail elderly people Discussion focuses on (a) sampling, recruitment, informed consent and retention of subjects, (b) selection and adaptation of measurement instruments, (c) implementation of treatment modalities and data collection protocols, (d) theoretical shortcomings, and (e) ethical concerns Such issues must be resolved if answers are to be found for multiple health problems that pose such a heavy burden for many frail elderly people As the number in this highly vulnerable group increases, gerontological nurse scientists, like all health care researchers, must better understand their needs and discover their strengths We must design innovative research protocols to capture that information