Low-level support for socially isolated older people: An evaluation of telephone befriending
In May 2005 Help the Aged and Zurich Community Trust launched a two year national programme ‘A Call in Time’. The purpose of the programme was to provide low level support and befriending services via the telephone to older people who are lonely, isolated or vulnerable. Eight projects were funded across the country. Following the launch of the programme, Help the Aged commissioned the Centre for Health Promotion Research at Leeds Metropolitan University to undertake an evaluation of the programme and to investigate the direct impact of low level support on older people who are vulnerable, isolated or lonely using the telephone as a specific tool of befriending. The main objectives of the evaluation were to: * Measure and identify the effectiveness of telephone befriending services for older people with regards to their mental and physical well-being and their quality of life and the extent to which services were of preventive value. * Examine the components parts of each model of telephone befriending and identify ‘models of good practice’. All eight telephone befriending schemes functioning within a variety of different parameters were included in the evaluation. The participants in this research included project co-ordinators, project volunteers and older people who were in receipt of the services.
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