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In Progress

This is an innovation project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Lead organisation

Bolton Clarke


Northern Health


Feelings of social isolation, loneliness and depression are prevalent among people aged 65 years and older and are a growing public health concern.

Older people experiencing these symptoms are more likely to be at risk of poor health and hospitalisation. However, patients are not routinely screened for these factors during hospital admission, meaning vulnerable older people are often discharged to the community with inadequate social support.

Through health and aged care provider Bolton Clarke’s HOW-R-U? project, older hospital patients experiencing social isolation, loneliness or depression will be identified and matched with a volunteer, who will provide regular telephone support after they have been discharged to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.


  • Reduce social isolation, loneliness and depression for participating patients, and keep their symptoms at the reduced levels
  • Reduce participating patients’ unplanned hospital presentations for non-emergency care
  • Increase the number of participating patients engaging in regular community social service


August 2021 – Early outcomes are showing positive results for participants, volunteers and staff. Results of the project will be available later in 2021.

Project summary

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