Home visits for prevention of impairment and death in older adults

Added April 28, 2020

Citation: Grant S, Parsons A, Burton J, et al. Home visits for prevention of impairment and death in older adults: a systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews 2014; 10(1): 1-85

What is this: The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on health and social care services. Existing research on home visits for older adults may provide relevant information for policy makers in this area.

In this Campbell systematic review, the authors searched for randomised trials of home visits in preventing impairment, institutionalization and death in older adults. They did not restrict by language of publication and did the search in December 2012. They included 64 studies with a range of eligibility criteria (28,642 participants). Home visits involved nurses alone (27 studies); other professionals, including health visitors, physiotherapists, social workers, physicians, (20); or a combination of health professionals, usually a nurse in combination with another professional (17).

What works: Nothing noted.

What doesn’t work: Overall, home visits were not found to be effective in maintaining the health and autonomy of community‐dwelling older adults.

Preventive home visits did not reduce overall mortality and did not have a significant effect on the number of people who were institutionalised.

What’s uncertain: The target population for home visits to older adults varies widely, as do their risk factors and the content of the home visiting programmes, therefore it is possible that some combination of home visit components in particular populations and settings may have some modest benefits, but this is uncertain.


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