Bathing Adaptations in the Homes of Older Adults (BATH-OUT-2): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial, economic evaluation and process evaluation

Phillip J Whitehead, Stuart Belshaw, Samantha Brady, Elizabeth Coleman, Alexandra Dean, Laura Doherty, Caroline Marie Fairhurst, Sandra Francis-Farrell, Miriam Golding-Day, Joanne Gray, Maisie Elanor Kate Martland, Jennifer McAnuff, Andrew McCarthy, Peter McMeekin, Natasha Mitchell, Melanie Narayanasamy, Craig Newman, Adwoa Parker, Tim Rapley, Sara RodgersLeigh Rooney, Rachel Russell, Laura Sheard, David Torgerson

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The onset of disability in bathing is particularly important for older adults as it can be rapidly followed by disability in other daily activities; this may represent a judicious time point for intervention in order to improve health, well-being and associated quality of life. An important environmental and preventative intervention is housing adaptation, but there are often lengthy waiting times for statutory provision. In this randomised controlled trial (RCT), we aim to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of bathing adaptations compared to no adaptations and to explore the factors associated with routine and expedited implementation of bathing adaptations.

BATH-OUT-2 is a multicentre, two-arm, parallel-group RCT. Adults aged 60 and over who are referred to their local authority for an accessible level access shower will be randomised, using pairwise randomisation, 1:1, to receive either an expedited provision of an accessible shower via the local authority or a usual care control waiting list. Participants will be followed up for a maximum of 12 months and will receive up to four follow-ups in this duration. The primary outcome will be the participant’s physical well-being, assessed by the Physical Component Summary score of the Short Form-36 (SF-36), 4 weeks after the intervention group receives the accessible shower. The secondary outcomes include the Mental Component Summary score of the SF-36, self-reported falls, health and social care resource use, health-related quality of life (EQ-5D-5L), social care-related quality of life (Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT)), fear of falling (Short Falls Efficacy Scale), independence in bathing (Barthel Index bathing question), independence in daily activities (Barthel Index) and perceived difficulty in bathing (0–100 scale). A mixed-methods process evaluation will comprise interviews with stakeholders and a survey of local authorities with social care responsibilities in England.

The BATH-OUT-2 trial is designed so that the findings will inform future decisions regarding the provision of bathing adaptations for older adults. This trial has the potential to highlight, and then reduce, health inequalities associated with waiting times for bathing adaptations and to influence policies for older adults.

Trial registration
ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN48563324. Prospectively registered on 09/04/2021.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2024

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