Evidence-Based Programs (EBPs)

Also known as: Evidence-Based Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Programs

Last Updated: November 25, 2020

Written by the Open Caregiving Team. Editorial review by Joyce O. Murphy RN, MSN.

What are evidence-based programs (EBPs)?

An EBP is a carefully planned program that is tested to learn about its benefits for specific populations such as aging individuals.

How do EBPs work?

Evidence-based programs are designed, tested and reviewed by teams of researchers.

  • This means that they look at how well the program was planned and if it was put into action as intended.
  • Then they examine the program’s outcomes to decide if the outcomes are what was hoped for. They draw conclusions about a program’s value.

Programs with positive or hopeful outcomes are then reviewed to decide if they are worth the funding to develop further.

What are the benefits of EBPs?

Evidence-based programs offer benefits for your loved one, your family, and taxpayers. That’s because:

  • Each EBP has been studied and shown to have good outcomes for participants.
    • When your loved one is taking part in an EBP you know that its practices are safe and planned to promote well-being for aging individuals.
    • There are EBPs that focus on overall health, and others that focus on social interaction.
  • Federal and state agencies must choose programs that are a wise use of public funds, the taxes that you pay.
    • One reason for having evidence-based programs is to ensure that public funds are well used and managed.
    • Another plus is that they can be tracked over time to assure that positive outcomes are still happening.

What are examples of evidence-based programs for aging individuals?

There are many EBPs across the country. A lot of these are put in place by states to meet the needs of their aging residents. General categories of these programs are:

  • Those that are focused on health promotion and disease prevention.
    • Some help people to understand a health condition and manage their care.
    • Others ensure that aging citizens have access to healthy meals.
    • A number offer tips to improve balance and strength to reduce falls. Those often include ways to avoid fall hazards at home.
  • Concerned with mental health and social well-being to reduce isolation.

Here are the types of evidence-based programs that may be offered at your local Area Agency on Aging or other community agency:

  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs are available in many communities (78.5 percent).
  • A Matter of Balance or other falls prevention programs can be found in about half of an AAoA’s region (45.8 percent).
  • Diabetes Self-Management Programs are in about one third of locales (31.1 percent).
  • Powerful Tools for Caregivers, where available, share tips with you about caring for your aging loved one (27.1 percent).
  • Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance programs promote movement and social interaction and are offered through a quarter of AAoA sites and their community partners (23.7 percent).

Who is eligible for evidence-based programs?

Each EBP may have its own eligibility criteria.

  • For instance, a program focused on diabetes management may be limited to those with the disease. This may also include those at-risk for getting diabetes, or people who care for someone who has it.
  • Most programs serve people who are 60 years and older.
  • Some programs may also welcome people with disabilities who are younger than age 60.

Where to find local evidence-based programs.

Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAoA) is a good place to learn where to find local EBPs for your loved one.

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