Promoting independence in older and disabled people

Research Question: What are the most effective* interventions which support (or create the conditions for) independence* in the everyday lives of older people, or disabled people** of any age?

*Independence has been defined as “the ability to make choices and to exercise control over your life. This includes being able to live independently with or without support” (1).
**“Disabled people” have been defined as people with impairments who are disabled by society
Population: Older people and disabled people (people with impairments who are disabled by barriers in society)
Intervention (non-NHS): Studies that assess the effectiveness of community-based interventions or programmes of interventions that are designed to support independence in the populations of interest. A wide range of interventions are currently in use throughout the UK, research may evaluate one or more interventions appropriate to the target group. Studies that shed light on how community-based interventions can be scaled-up successfully, including across population groups.
Comparator: Not Specified.
Outcomes: Outcomes of interventions across different groups according to gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, for example, may be explored. Research which includes collaboration with local authorities and/or relevant third sector organisations would be welcome.

Commissioning brief: Studies should generate evidence to inform the implementation of single or multi-component interventions. Studies may include evidence syntheses, studies evaluating interventions, including trials, quasi- and natural experimental evaluations, and feasibility and pilot studies for these. We welcome applications for linked studies (e.g. pilot + main evaluation). Secondary analyses of existing epidemiological data and/or impact modelling studies may also be funded. We encourage the adoption of a systems perspective where appropriate to the study context. In all cases a strong justification for the chosen design and methods must be made.

The primary outcome measure of the research, if not necessarily the intervention itself, must be health-related. The positive or negative impacts of the intervention, including inequitable outcomes should be considered.  Researchers are asked to indicate how long-term impacts will be assessed. All applications should identify underlying theory and include a logic model (or equivalent) to help explain underlying context, theory and mechanisms. Proposals should ensure adequate public involvement in the research.
For all proposals, applicants should clearly state the public health utility of the outcomes and the mechanisms by which they will inform future public health policy and practice. Details about the potential pathway to impact and scalability of interventions, if shown to have an effect, should be provided, including an indication of which organisation(s) might fund the relevant intervention(s) if widely implemented.
Representatives of policy or practice communities relevant to the project should be directly engaged or involved with the development and delivery of PHR research because this produces research that is more closely grounded in, and reflective of, their concerns and makes the subsequent uptake and application of research findings more likely. By policy or practice, we mean any organisation that is involved in shaping policy or delivering public health services relevant to the research, whether at local or national levels. This might include local authorities, charities, voluntary organisations, professional bodies, commercial organisations, governmental and arms-length bodies.