Recruitment of frail older people to research: lessons learnt through experience

J Adv Nurs. 2001 Dec;36(5):643-51. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2001.02029.x.


Background: With the emphasis on the need for clinical governance and evidence-based practice in the healthcare industry there is increasing pressure on researchers to provide tangible research evidence of the effectiveness of new treatments, interventions and services. Recruiting an adequate size of sample is an important factor in the success or otherwise of a study to answer the research question. Difficulty in the recruitment of older people to research is widely acknowledged. However, much can be achieved to maximize the success of this process.

Aims of the paper: This paper describes and explores our experience of recruiting frail, older people to research, with particular emphasis on ensuring quality in the process of research related to ethical practice.

Conclusions: Recruitment of frail older people to research can be a complex process in which the awareness and integrity of the researcher is key in upholding the principle of nonexploitation. It is important not to underestimate this difficulty and to ensure that the data collection period is sufficient to recruit adequate numbers. There is a need to continue to develop and refine recruitment skills and strategies to maximize the involvement of frail older people to research while protecting their right to refuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Ethics, Nursing*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Frail Elderly / psychology*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Mental Competency
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / organization & administration*
  • Patient Advocacy*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Patient Selection*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Research Personnel / psychology