Background: Clinical research is required to develop and evaluate suicide prevention interventions in the elderly. However, there is insufficient information available about how to best recruit suicidal older adults for such research. This study evaluated the success and efficiency of five recruitment strategies for a clinical trial on the efficacy of cognitive therapy for suicidal older men.
Methods: For each strategy, the numbers of individuals approached, screened, and enrolled were calculated, and the expenses and time associated with each enrollment estimated. Men who were 60 years or older and who had a desire for suicide over the past month were eligible for the trial.
Results: Of 955 individuals considered for trial, 33 were enrolled. Most enrollments were sourced from the Veterans Affairs Behavioral Health Laboratory. Recruiting form this source was also the most time and cost efficient recruitment strategy in the study.
Conclusions: Recruitment strategies are effective when they are based on collaborative relationships between researchers and providers, and utilize an existing infrastructure for involving patients in ongoing research opportunities.