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A systematic review to identify and assess the effectiveness of alternatives for people over the age of 65 who are at risk of potentially avoidable hospital admission

Benger, Jonathan Richard; Huntley, Alyson L.; Shaw, Ali R G; Chalder, Melanie; Hollingworth, William; Metcalfe, Chris; Purdy, Sarah


Jonathan Richard Benger

Alyson L. Huntley

Ali Shaw
Senior Lecturer in Primary Early Years Teacher Education

Melanie Chalder

William Hollingworth

Chris Metcalfe

Sarah Purdy


© 2017 Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article). Background/objectives There are some older patients who are at the decision margin' of admission. This systematic review sought to explore this issue with the following objective: What admission alternatives are there for older patients and are they safe, effective and cost-effective? A secondary objective was to identify the characteristics of those older patients for whom the decision to admit to hospital may be unclear. Design Systematic review of controlled studies (April 2005-December 2016) with searches in Medline, Embase, Cinahl and CENTRAL databases. The protocol is registered at PROSPERO (CRD42015020371). Studies were assessed using Cochrane risk of bias criteria, and relevant reviews were assessed with the AMSTAR tool. The results are presented narratively and discussed. Setting Primary and secondary healthcare interface. Participants People aged over 65 years at risk of an unplanned admission. Interventions Any community-based intervention offered as an alternative to admission to an acute hospital. Primary and secondary outcomes measures Reduction in secondary care use, patient-related outcomes, safety and costs. Results Nineteen studies and seven systematic reviews were identified. These recruited patients with both specific conditions and mixed chronic and acute conditions. The interventions involved paramedic/emergency care practitioners (n=3), emergency department-based interventions (n=3), community hospitals (n=2) and hospital-at-home services (n=11). Data suggest that alternatives to admission appear safe with potential to reduce secondary care use and length of time receiving care. There is a lack of patient-related outcomes and cost data. The important features of older patients for whom the decision to admit is uncertain are: Age over 75 years, comorbidities/multi-morbidities, dementia, home situation, social support and individual coping abilities. Conclusions This systematic review describes and assesses evidence on alternatives to acute care for older patients and shows that many of the options available are safe and appear to reduce resource use. However, cost analyses and patient preference data are lacking.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Jul 1, 2017
Journal BMJ Open
Electronic ISSN 2044-6055
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 7
Pages e016236
APA6 Citation Benger, J. R., Shaw, A. R., Huntley, A. L., Huntley, A. L., Chalder, M., Shaw, A. R. G., …Purdy, S. (2017). A systematic review to identify and assess the effectiveness of alternatives for people over the age of 65 who are at risk of potentially avoidable hospital admission. BMJ Open, 7(7), e016236.
Keywords systematic review, identify, assess, effectiveness, alternatives, 65, risk, potentially avoidable hospital admission
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