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New research project to explore whether digital health coaching can support people with frailty.

New research project to explore whether digital health coaching can support people with frailty.

The DONOR project (Digital cOachiNg fOr fRailty) will investigate whether a digital approach could be used alongside support from health coaches to help the lifestyle management of frailty in its early stages. 

Frailty is a condition that affects one in ten people over the age of 65. It means people are at higher risk of falls, disability and poorer quality of life. With increasing numbers of older people living across Wessex, frailty also impacts on health and social care services because of the need for more GP appointments and increased hospital and care homes admissions.

With many now having access to the internet and digital tools such as smartphones, the DONOR project will look at whether these technologies can reduce the burden on health and care services by offering person-centred care and advice.

The project will work together with patients, carers and practitioners from across the Wessex region to test a digital approach, alongside training health coaches to use digital tools and measure how well it works for people with frailty.

Working within the ‘Ageing and Dementia’ Research theme, the project, starting in 2022 will be led by Jane Murphy, Professor in Nutrition at Bournemouth University, alongside partners from University of Southampton, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, The Adam Practice, Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and the Wessex Academic Health Science Network.

Professor Murphy said: “We will work together with people with frailty, carers, health coaches and health care professionals to develop and test a new digital approach, implemented across Dorset and West Hampshire. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with our project partners and hope this new and exciting research will lead to wider implementation across Wessex and go further afield.”