The feasibility and acceptability of a specialist health and social care team for the promotion of health and independence in ‘at risk’ older adults


Vari Drennan Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences Royal Free and University College Medical School University College London Archway Campus Highgate Hill London N19 5LW UK E-mail:


Population ageing, escalating costs in pensions, health-care and long-term care have prompted a new policy agenda for active ageing and quality of life in old age across the European Union and other developed countries. In England, the National Service Framework for Older People (NSF OP) explicitly demands for the first time that the NHS and local authorities, in partnership, agree programmes to promote health ageing and to prevent disease in older people. These programmes are expected to improve access for older people to mainstream health promotion services and also to develop multiagency initiatives to promote health, independence and well-being in old age. This paper describes the evaluation of one interagency project team established to test out mechanisms for addressing health promotion for older people through primary care. A mixed methodology was used to understand the processes of service development, the impact of the team's intervention, and the primary and secondary outcomes for older people. The project demonstrated that multi-agency partnerships have the potential to improve the quality of the lives of older people deemed ‘at risk’ by their general practitioners, particularly through income generation but also in the identification of medical problems such as unrecognised hypertension, hearing loss and visual loss. It also offered some key learning points for other multi-agency groups developing similar services.