Developing an Australian health and aged care research agenda: a systematic review of evidence at the subacute interface Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Objective The aim of the present study was to systematically review articles describing recent interventions that aimed to improve access and outcomes for older people at the interface between health and aged care, with a focus on subacute care programs of palliative care, rehabilitation, geriatric evaluation and management (GEM) and psychogeriatrics. Methods Australian studies published between 2008 and 2013were evaluated using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) guidelines. Included studies were summarised according to focus areas and results discussed in the current Australian subacute health care context. Results Eleven Australian research articles were identified. Three did not achieve any NHMRC rating level because of methodological approach. Focus areas included: discharge planning; information management or communication; rehabilitation; hospital treatment in residential care; screening and intervention; and Telehealth. Interventions were primarily system centred; only three studies featured patient-level outcome measures. Conclusions There is limited high-quality research investigating the effectiveness of interventions at the health and aged care interface of subacute care. Further research is needed. What is known about the topic? Subacute care offers important healthcare programs for older people, operating at the interface between health and aged care. However, for the most part this has not been subject to research scrutiny. What does this paper add? Identified studies were predominantly hospital oriented and designed to avoid hospital admission and associated costs. Locally integrated, collaborative and multidiscipline based interventions improve system-level outcomes. Alternative and individualised models of care, particularly when provided in their home setting, yields positive outcomes for older people. What are the implications for practitioners? Health and aged care reforms and related research agenda must include the perspectives and experiences of patients and/or carers accessing subacute care programs, yet these are under-reported. The present review highlights opportunities to improve the quality of existing evidence and create a research agenda for the future.

publication date

  • 2016