Community-based options to preserve independence in elderly people

It appears to take a village.

First the details.

  • Researchers in the UK re-evaluated data (meta-analysis) from 89 studies in nearly 98,000 adults aged 65 or older.
  • All studies had at least 6 months of follow-up.
  • Minimal care was compared with combination interventions.
    • Community-based care after hospital discharge
    • Fall prevention measures
    • Group education and counseling

And, the results.

  • Complex interventions improved the chances of living at home, with 13% fewer nursing-home admission.
  • Mortality was unaffected.
  • Hospital admission were reduced 6%.
  • Falls were reduced 10%.
  • Physical function improved in those receiving the intervention.
  • The researchers were unable to identify any specific type or intensity of intervention as superior.

The bottom line?
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. David Stott from the Glasgow Royal Infirmary observed, “Benefits will be maximized if we avoid ineffective or poorly coordinated systems of care, and concentrate on trying to replicate what we know works. It is vital we get this right — there is the potential to improve the quality of life for elderly people and their carers, and possibly even to reduce the costs of health and social care.”

I’m not satisfied however, because I would like to know the beneficial vs useless interventions.

2/29/08 09:33 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.