Home-delivered meals for people with dementia: Which model delays nursing home placement? - Protocol for a feasibility pilot

Kali S. Thomas, David M. Dosa, Alison Fisher, Emily Gadbois, Jill Harrison, Michelle Hilgeman, Emily A. Largent, Julie Lima, Katie McAuliff, Ellen McCreedy, Whitney Mills, Katherine A. Ornstein, Renee R. Shield, Marycela Barron, Shawna Callaghan, Kayla Clark, Chris Culak, Vinsen Faris, Anita E. Frankhauser, Sophie HuertaKatherine Krause, Ileana Martinez, Amanda Mayer, Jacqueline Rodriguez, Lucy Theilheimer, William Truelove, Inga Wilson, Roee Gutman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Home-delivered meals promote food security, socialization, and independence among homebound older adults. However, it is unclear which of the two predominant modes of meal delivery, daily-delivered vs. drop-shipped, frozen meals, promotes community living for homebound older adults with dementia. Our objective is to present the protocol for a pilot multisite, two-arm, pragmatic feasibility trial comparing the effect of two modes of meal delivery on nursing home placement among people with dementia. We include justifications for individual randomization with different consent processes and waivers for specific elements of the trial. Methods: 236 individuals with dementia on waiting lists at three Meals on Wheels programs' in Florida and Texas will be randomized to receive either: 1) meals delivered multiple times per week by a Meals on Wheels volunteer or paid driver who may socialize with and provide an informal wellness check or 2) frozen meals that are mailed to participants' homes every two weeks. We will evaluate and refine processes for recruitment and randomization; assess adherence to the intervention; identify common themes in participant experience; and test processes for linking participant data with Medicare records and nursing home assessment data. We will conduct exploratory analyses examining time to nursing home placement, the primary outcome for the larger trial. Conclusion: This pilot will inform the follow-on large-scale, definitive pragmatic trial. In addition, the justifications for individual randomization with differing consent procedures for elements of a pragmatic trial provide a model for future trialists looking to develop ethical and feasible pragmatic studies enrolling people with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106897
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Dementia
  • Feasibility pilot
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Waiver of consent


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