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Effects of health care interventions on quality of life among frail elderly: a systematized review

Authors van Rijckevorsel-Scheele J, Willems RCWJ, Roelofs PDDM, Koppelaar E, Gobbens RJJ, Goumans MJBM

Received 10 October 2018

Accepted for publication 17 January 2019

Published 4 April 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 643—658


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Jantine van Rijckevorsel-Scheele,1 Renate CWJ Willems,1 Pepijn DDM Roelofs,1 Elin Koppelaar,1 Robbert JJ Gobbens,2–4 Marleen JBM Goumans1

1Research Centre Innovations in Care, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; 2Faculty of Health, Sports and Social Work, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 3Zonnehuisgroep Amstelland, Amstelveen, the Netherlands; 4Department of Primary and Interdisciplinary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Introduction: Many health care interventions have been developed that aim to improve or maintain the quality of life for frail elderly. A clear overview of these health care interventions for frail elderly and their effects on quality of life is missing.
Purpose: To provide a systematic overview of the effect of health care interventions on quality of life of frail elderly.
Methods: A systematic search was conducted in Embase, Medline (OvidSP), Cochrane Central, Cinahl, PsycInfo and Web of Science, up to and including November 2017. Studies describing health care interventions for frail elderly were included if the effect of the intervention on quality of life was described. The effects of the interventions on quality of life were described in an overview of the included studies.
Results: In total 4,853 potentially relevant articles were screened for relevance, of which 19 intervention studies met the inclusion criteria. The studies were very heterogeneous in the design: measurement of frailty, health care intervention and outcome measurement differ. Health care interventions described were: multidisciplinary treatment, exercise programs, testosterone gel, nurse home visits and acupuncture. Seven of the nineteen intervention studies, describing different health care interventions, reported a statistically significant effect on subdomains of quality of life, two studies reported a statistically significant effect of the intervention on the overall quality of life score. Ten studies reported no statistically significant difference between the intervention and control groups.
Conclusion: Reported effects of health care interventions on frail elderly persons’ quality of life are inconsistent, with most of the studies reporting no differences between the intervention and control groups. As the number of frail elderly persons in the population will continue to grow, it will be important to continue the search for effective health care interventions. Alignment of studies in design and outcome measurements is needed.

Keywords: frailty, quality of life, interventions, systematic review, multidisciplinary treatment, exercise programs

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