Within the United Kingdom two studies relating to Lifestyle Matters have been undertaken. The first was a feasibility study that sought to establish programme acceptability for a UK population; key competencies required for programme delivery, supervision requirements for facilitators and outcome measures.
Twenty-eight older people aged between 60 and 92 participated in the research and attended a weekly two hour programme for eight months. Either two occupational therapists or two therapy assistants facilitated the programme. All the facilitators received regular supervision throughout from academic occupational therapists.
Findings showed that community living older people were successfully recruited to participate with involvement being maintained over eight months and beyond. Individuals participating in the programme were able to transfer learning from the group into their everyday life. The participants all described receiving highly tangible gains as a consequence of their involvement in the programme. Their perceptions of benefit were in the main related to improved engagement and mental well-being.
Given the positive outcomes of this study a further randomised controlled trial was undertaken. A total of 288 individuals participated in the study and attended 16 weekly facilitated group sessions over four successive months at a community venue and four monthly one to one sessions. Primary analysis of the Lifestyle Matters data showed no evidence of benefit of this intervention; however a meta-analysis of findings with a US trial conducted with independently living older people were positive.