Transforming Residential Aged Care into a Health Promoting Setting? Results from a Follow up Study on the Austrian Pilot Project “Health Has No Age”

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Karl KRAJIC, FORBA - Working Life Research Center, Austria, University of Vienna, Department of Sociology, Austria
Viktoria QUEHENBERGER, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Health Promotion Research, Austria, University of Vienna, Department of Sociology, Austria
Martin CICHOCKI, FORBA - Working Life Research Center, Austria
In the context of healthy ageing, health promotion so far has mainly focused on the “young old” (e.g. workplace health promotion); in the older groups, community-dwelling aged have been addressed. Highly-aged persons, especially when in a functionally impaired state, so far hardly have been considered as target for health promotion. One important option is to address aged care residencies with the settings approach, as they have a huge impact on their clients’ health.

An innovative health promoting settings-project was conducted as a pilot in three sites (900 residents, 300 staff) of Vienna’s largest care provider from 2011 to 2013; evaluation used qualitative and quantitative methods. Starting with a systematic needs assessment, the project developed and implemented health promotion strategies and measures (a) for residents a mobility enhancement intervention as an RCT study, which demonstrated effectiveness; (b) for their relatives an involvement policy (c) several staff health measures. At management level, the organization formally adopted a health promotion policy and established central support structures. At the end of the pilot phase, internal and external stakeholders considered the project successful, but the impact of these strategic and structural decisions on everyday processes and on organizational culture at local level was not yet to be determined.

The paper will report on experiences and results of a follow up project, which supported further specification, roll out and sustainability of the health promotion activities in the period 2013 - 2015. Experiences with the overall implementation, a roll out of the mobility enhancement program to the organisation’s other 25 residencies and staff health measures that initially brought up mixed results will be discussed.

The paper gives an insight into issues of implementation, but also viability of a health promoting setting approach and discusses potential impact on health of the highly aged.