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Research helps elderly keep warm

Friday 11 November 2011

The Keeping Warm in Later Life (KWILLT) was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit Programme and was supported by the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South Yorkshire (CLAHRC-SY). It completed in November 2011. 

Led by academics in the Centre for Health and Social Care Research at Sheffield Hallam University, KWILLT was conducted in collaboration with a Rotherham partnership of NHS, Local authority, voluntary sector and charitable organisations. The host NHS organisation was NHS Rotherham.

KWILLT identified factors that influence older vulnerable people in keeping warm and well in winter. The findings indicated that knowledge and awareness of safe temperatures and how to use heating efficiently were low across the study participants. Participant's experiences explain how values and beliefs can interact with contextual factors and barriers in such a way, that they often end up being cold at home.

The CLAHRC-SY have recently disseminated the findings as part of the CLAHRC Bites series.

What have we done with the findings?

The research insight was used to develop

  • Six pen portraits which describe six groups of older people who are at risk of being cold at home for different reasons. The pen portraits can be downloaded from the project website ( and used to help health and social care staff understand the range of people at risk, identify and assess them.
  • The Winter Warmth England Website which provides organisations with information, statistics and communication resources to help ensure that vulnerable people stay safe, well and warm during the winter.
  • DVDs and videos for staff training based on the pen portraits, downloadable from
  • Open access E-Learning materials are also being developed and will be available in Spring 2013.
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