Groups 4 Health (G4H): Building connectedness to support health in transitioning home from rehabilitation

Ms Julian  Whitmore1, Professor Catherine  Haslam2

1Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Community and Oral Health Directorate, Australia, 2University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

Background: Social engagement is key in protecting health, but challenging for those transitioning home after intensive rehabilitation. Targeting this issue is a new social group intervention, Groups 4 Health (G4H), that helps people to reconnect and extend their social group-based relationships in ways that support their health. In this feasibility study, we developed and piloted an adaptation of this program — G4H: Going Home — focusing on older adults transitioning home from rehabilitation.

Method: 30 participants (mean age=74.9; F=19, M=12) were recruited, among whom 12 completed all 5 sessions of the program and all measures. Primary measures at three timepoints (pre-G4H, end-G4H, 1-month follow-up) were depression, loneliness and quality of life (QoL). A smaller sample of participants (n=5) also took part in qualitative interviews aimed at gauging their experience of the program.

Results: Analysis of the full sample revealed clinically significant change in depression scores (of >2 points on the scale) between the pre-G4H and follow-up, and the post-G4H and follow-up periods. For the 12 completers, only the difference between post-G4H and follow-up was clinically significant. There was improvement on the remaining variables in both samples — with a small decline in loneliness and small increase in QoL between pre-G4H and follow up timepoints. Qualitative feedback was largely positive with the experiences of sharing and learning with others and realising the value of social groups emerging as common themes.

Discussion: The program had its greatest impact on mental health alongside raising awareness of the importance of others as a resource to support health in a challenging period of transitioning home. These data support investment in testing G4H further, with appropriate controls, to address alternative explanations for improvement and address generalisability. Alongside these data we discuss the program’s wider feasibility and challenges of delivering G4H within an active rehabilitation program.

Biography: To be confirmed

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