Medical research relies heavily on clinical trials. They enable the medical community to understand conditions better, lessen the burden of sickness, and improve the general health of communities. A new drug or medical device’s safety, effectiveness, dependability, and side effects are all thoroughly examined in clinical trials. Additionally, clinical trials provide patients with potentially unattainable market-based therapy options that are urgently required.
All of this could not be possible without the elderly age group of participants. As a matter of fact, elderly people capture most of the population worldwide. People who lie in the age group of 50 and above suffer from one or another condition that may need treatment options that are not readily available in the market.
This blog discusses recruiting geriatric patients in clinical trials, its benefits, challenges, and how increasing diversity can help improve medical research.
Benefits Of Recruiting Geriatric Patients
Older individuals are disproportionately underrepresented in clinical trials despite having the highest frequency of numerous diseases and being the most likely to take drugs and therapies.
As a result, there is little data regarding the relative treatment benefits and harms for older persons. This is especially concerning for elderly people who are weak, have several morbidities, take a lot of medications or are advance in age. Due to the lack of information, healthcare organizations, clinicians, families, patients, and policymakers cannot plan their care.
However, there are considerable benefits to enrolling geriatric patients in clinical trials:
- Accessibility to new drugs that are not easily available in the market
- More active and cognizant in making decisions for their health
- Care provided under the supervision of skilled medical professionals
Challenges Of Recruiting Geriatric Patients In Clinical Trials
Multiple facets of study conduct can be impact by sensory impairments:
- Providing information about the study and gaining informed consent
- Posing queries and conducting tests
- Everything must be carried out vocally or visually due to the hearing and visual issues
- Traveling to study locations will be more challenging
- Traveling to study locations may require extra support from others, which may make it more difficult to finish some tests or procedures
- Mistaking cognitive impairment for the ability to give informed consent
- Assistance in understanding the study and what participation entails
- Limited capacity to respond to inquiries and perform some evaluations/procedures
- Use of alternative information-gathering techniques, medical records, direct observation
- Limited capacity to follow instructions for evaluations and advised consent
- Limited capacity to understand the study and what their involvement might entail
- Order of doing evaluations and procedures and questions to ask
- Dividing assessments across many sessions
- Limited ability to adhere to evaluation and intervention guidelines
How To Make Geriatric Recruitment A Smooth Process
Engage Geriatric Patients
- More personnel time will demand more resources as they need time to comprehend things. This can be catered to by providing an inclusive environment where they feel comfortable.
- Include spouses, family members, and caretakers in the research process (communication). This can help geriatric patients who require assistance understand the study.
For geriatric patients to successfully complete a study questionnaire in a virtual trial, modifications may be required, such as higher font sizes. However, not just trials with older persons should prioritize sensible, human-centered design, it should be the case with every trial. To improve usability and boost compliance, sponsors and CROs must anticipate and address technology challenges. To ensure clinical trial diversity it is crucial to make arrangements that encourage geriatric patients to take part in a clinical trial.
Create an Inclusive Environment
It is difficult to stress the importance of geriatric patient participation in clinical research, and decentralized trials provide a crucial first step in that direction. Sponsors and CROs may establish a more inclusive research environment that enhances safety, and efficacy, and produces better business returns by busting myths about technology adoption by geriatric patients and proactively including seniors in all phases of clinical trials.
Other Strategies Include
The patient experience and the trial’s success both benefit from age diversity in clinical trials.
- When enrolling geriatric patients, take into account age restrictions and try to avoid an all-or-none approach: Instead, think about determining eligibility subject by subject, which will still allow the trial to exclude patients who are thought to be too weak, unstable, or comorbid.
- Actively seek older participants: It will take time to change these patterns as geriatric people have been intentionally and passively excluded from clinical trials for many years. Researchers and healthcare professionals should work to inform older persons about clinical research in addition to recruiting them for specific trials.
- Take inspiration from previous initiatives to hire underrepresented groups: The first step in increasing trial diversity is to make an effort to fully comprehend your patient group, their requirements, and any barriers preventing their participation.
- Engage organizations that advocate for geriatric patients: It is imperative to find out how trials might be improve to better accommodate their requirements and incorporate them. Join forces with these organizations to support outreach and information sharing. This will assist in recognizing the pain points of geriatric patients and getting a better understanding of their needs and strategizing accordingly.
Prime Revival’s Take On Recruiting Geriatric Patients In Clinical Trials
Prime Revival Research Institute is focus on providing easy health access to all. We promote diversity and inclusivity, to make clinical trials successful and meaningful for the participants. We encourage people of all ages to take part in clinical trials and help advance medicine. Currently, Prime Revival is enrolling participants for hypertension, CGM, and other endocrinology clinical trials.
No matter how challenging it may sound, recruiting geriatric patients in clinical trials plays a very crucial role in the success of a clinical trial. The healthcare industry and geriatric patients with complicated conditions would benefit most from close monitoring of novel therapy choices, including drugs and medical devices. Thus it is vital to stay updated about their feasibility and develop strategies accordingly for the recruitment of geriatric patients in a clinical trial.