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The Community In-Reach and Care Transition (CIRACT) clinical and cost-effectiveness study: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Watson, Alison; Charlesworth, Lisa; Jacob, Ruth; Kendrick, Denise; Logan, Philippa; Marshall, Fiona; Montgomery, Alan; Sach, Tracey; Tan, Wei; Walker, Marion; Waring, Justin; Whitham, Diane; Sahota, Opinder


Alison Watson

Lisa Charlesworth

Ruth Jacob

Professor of Primary Care Research

Professor of Rehabilitation Research

Fiona Marshall

Director, nottingham Clinical Trials Unit

Tracey Sach

Wei Tan

Marion Walker

Justin Waring

Diane Whitham

Opinder Sahota



Older people represent a significant proportion of patients admitted to hospital. Their care compared to younger patients is more challenging, length of stay is longer, risk of hospital-acquired problems higher and the risk of being re-admitted within 28 days greater. This study aims to compare a Community In-Reach and Care Transition (CIRACT) service with Traditional Hospital Based rehabilitation (THB-Rehab) provided to the older person. The CIRACT service differs from the THB-rehab service in that they are able to provide more intensive hospital rehabilitation, visiting patients daily, and are able to continue with the patient’s rehabilitation following discharge allowing a seamless, integrated discharge working alongside community providers. A pilot comparing the two services showed that the CIRACT service demonstrated reduced length of stay and reduced re-admission rates when analysed over a four-month period.


This trial will evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the CIRACT service, conducted as a randomised controlled trial (RCT) with an integral qualitative mechanism and action study designed to provide the explanatory and theoretical components on how the CIRACT service compares to current practice. The RCT element consists of 240 patients over 70 years of age, being randomised to either the THB therapy group or the CIRACT service following an unplanned hospital admission. The primary outcome will be hospital length of stay from admission to discharge from the general medical elderly care ward. Additional outcome measures including the Barthel Index, Charlson Co-morbidity Scale, EuroQoL-5D and the modified Client Service Receipt Inventory will be assessed at the time of recruitment and repeated at 91 days post-discharge. The qualitative mechanism and action study will involve a systematic programme of organisational profiling, observations of work processes, interviews with key informants and care providers and tracking of participants. In addition, a within-trial economic evaluation will be undertaken comparing the CIRACT and THB-rehab services to determine cost-effectiveness.


The outcome of the study will inform clinical decision-making, with respect to allocation of resources linked to hospital discharge planning and re-admissions, in a resource intensive and growing group of patients.


Watson, A., Charlesworth, L., Jacob, R., Kendrick, D., Logan, P., Marshall, F., …Sahota, O. (2015). The Community In-Reach and Care Transition (CIRACT) clinical and cost-effectiveness study: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 16(41),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 8, 2015
Deposit Date Oct 23, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 23, 2015
Journal Trials
Electronic ISSN 1745-6215
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 41
Keywords Rehabilitation; In-reach; Community; In-patients; Older people
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Watson Trials 2015.pdf (817 Kb)

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