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ADOPTED: Wessex Frail2Fit – A feasibility and acceptability study of a virtual multi-modal intervention delivered by volunteers to improve functional outcomes of older adults with COVID-19 discharged from hospital

Principal Investigator: Dr Stephen Lim, University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Team: Andrew Bates, Dr Chloe Grimmett and Professor Sandy Jack, Professor Helen Roberts University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Jane Murphy, Professor of  Nutrition, Bournemouth University

Start date: 01/06/2022

End date: 31/10/2024

Partners: This proposal is a collaborative effort between University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Trust and Wessex AHSN (Health Innovation Wessex)

Lay summary Older adults recovering from COVID-19 are at risk of functional decline. Guidance from NHS England highlighted hospital-acquired muscle weakness resulting from deconditioning as a concern. Those who are identified as frail as particularly at risk.  

Aims Wessex Frail2Fit will explore whether volunteers can be trained to work with exercise trainers to deliver online support to older people with Covid-19 discharged from hospital. We also want to know if this intervention is acceptable to older people, the volunteers and trainers.  

Methods We will recruit 30 hospital patients aged ≥65 years with a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19. They need to be able to walk at least a few steps on hospital discharge and be able to provide consent to participate . Volunteers will be trained to support these patients to exercise safely and eat well, and to provide behavioural change support. They will meet the participants online, or through telephone consultations, over a period of 12 weeks. We will report the number of volunteers recruited, trained and retained at the end of the study. We will interview 15 patients, carers and volunteers to find out how they feel about the intervention and how we may improve it in the future.  

Summary This study will explore a new way of providing comprehensive, online support for older people with Covid-19 after discharge from hospital. We will establish how best to train volunteers to do this and identify barriers and facilitators to this novel intervention for future wider implementation.  

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