We examined the acceptability of multi-site videoconferencing as a method of providing group education to older people in their homes. There were 9 groups comprising 52 participants (mean age 73 years) with an average of four chronic conditions. Tablet computers or PCs were installed in participant's homes and connected to the Internet by the National Broadband Network (high-speed broad band network) or by the 4G wireless network. A health literacy and self-management programme was delivered by videoconference for 5 weeks. Participants were able to view and interact with all group members and the facilitator on their devices. During the study, 44 group videoconferences were conducted. Evaluation included 16 semi-structured interviews, 3 focus groups and a journal detailing project implementation. The participants reported enjoying home-based group education by videoconference and found the technology easy to use. Using home-based groups via videoconference was acceptable for providing group education, and considered particularly valuable for people living alone and/or with limited mobility. Audio difficulties were the most commonly reported problem. Participants connected with 4G experienced more problems (audio and visual) than participants on the National Broadband Network and those living in multi-dwelling residences reported more problems than those living in single-dwelling residences. Older people with little computer experience can be supported to use telehealth equipment. Telehealth has the potential to improve access to education about chronic disease self-management.
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