Responding to the Challenges of Recruiting and Retaining Homebound Older Men and Women in a Study of Nutrition and Function
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An interactive, two-track recruitment and retention ap-proach was designed to (1) recruit home-delivered meals programs in four disparate North Carolina counties as active study partners, and (2) recruit and retain a diverse sample of older men and women from a randomized list of 934 home-delivered meal recipients. A telephone screening survey, using the telephone version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was conducted to exclude persons with cognitive impairment. Eligible persons were recruited for a comprehensive home visit and 3 dietary recalls. Participation rate and group comparisons (e.g., excluded for telephone screening survey vs. not excluded; cognitively eligible vs. not eligible; and eligible participants vs. non-participants) were calculated. Eighty percent of those who completed the telephone survey were eligible for a home visit; 81% of these persons scheduled a home visit; and 99% of those who scheduled a home visit completed a home visit and 3 dietary recalls. The study sample of 345 homebound older persons was 81% women, 49% Black, 32% < 9 years education, 65% income < $750/month, and 58% lived alone. Group comparisons indicated that total ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), nutritional risk, and economic need were not statistically different. Studies of home- bound older persons are needed to better understand nutritional and health-related problems; to identify appropriate interventions to improve or maintain nutritional and functional health; and to develop community-based long-term care policy and programs. This demonstrates the feasibility of and provides an innovative method for the recruitment and retention of homebound older persons. © 2002 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
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