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Development Of A Health Risk Appraisal For The Elderly (HRA-E)

Lester Breslow, John C. Beck, Hal Morgenstern, Jonathan E. Fielding, Alison A. Moore, Martha Carmel, Jerilyn Higa

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The purpose of this project is to develop a health risk appraisal for the elderly (HRA-E) and test its application in both medical and nonmedical settings. The HRA-E system consists of a questionnaire and software for computer-generation of personalized reports to participants, 55 years and older, and their physicians. Items in the questionnaire cover a comprehensive range of content domains relevant to health promotion in the elderly. The goal of the HRA-E system is to prevent functional decline. Samples of eligible subjects from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a group practice, and a senior center were extended invitations to participate. Those responding affirmatively to the invitation were given a questionnaire and evaluation form. Each person who returned the questionnaire received his or her personal report and a second evaluation form. Four months after receiving their reports, respondents were questioned about behavior changes during the interim. Preliminary findings, based on 1895 respondents, indicate that nearly all participants found the questionnaire easy to complete and were pleased with its overall length. In addition, most participants read their reports, and many planned to take action, based on report recommendations. In the next phase of this project, the intent is to refine the questionnaire, extend the intervention protocols for longitudinal application, and evaluate its impact on health-related behaviors, medical care utilization, and functional decline.