Assessing outreach interventions for travellers
News release from NETSCC, Public Health Research
28 June 2011
A newly funded study by the NIHR PHR programme is conducting a review on current information to assess whether outreach programmes for traveller communities work, when they may be effective and if they are good value for money.
The terms "gypsy", "roma" and "traveller" are used to describe a wide variety of cultural and ethnic groups. Outreach programmes are interventions that are adapted and taken to populations who do not or cannot access services that support a community. Previous research of healthcare interventions for traveller communities recommended the provision of outreach as a promising mode of service delivery.
Lead researcher Dr Susan Carr of the Community Health and Education Studies Research Centre Northumbria University commented; "The health status of travellers in the UK is significantly worse when compared with other socio-economically disadvantaged groups among the non traveller population. Traveller communities are a socio-economically disadvantaged group that often 'fall through the net' of traditional health service provision and boundaries."
The researchers will search for evidence of outreach interventions where at least one person visited a traveller community's home and aimed to improve health using one to one or group interventions to produce knowledge, educate, and provide services. They will look for examples of how outreach programmes have been implemented and evaluated in various forms, such as published journals, service provider websites and research reports. The team have strong networks with service providers and users which will ensure the research is readily applicable to benefit population health.
Results will be summarised and shared with representatives of the traveller communities and outreach providers. This will make sure the evidence retrieved and the recommendations made are suitable to the UK context.
"A previous review of the range and quality of evidence on the health of, and interventions targeted at travellers, revealed that studies tended to use process rather than outcome measures as indicators of success in terms of number of people accessing or using the service, rather than whether this actually improved their health," says Dr Carr. She added; "We aim to help inform commissioners of traveller services about which programmes actually work and if they are cost-effective."
The project is expected to publish results in 2013; to view more details click here.