A systematic review of intervention studies to prevent hospitalizations of community-dwelling older adults with dementia

Elizabeth A. Phelan, Katrina J. Debnam, Lynda A. Anderson, Steven B. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


To conduct a systematic literature review to determine if there were any intervention strategies that had any measurable effect on acute-care hospitalizations among community-dwelling adults with dementia. DESIGN:: Studies were identified by a professional research librarian and content experts. SETTING:: Community dwelling. PARTICIPANTS:: Participants were diagnosed with dementia, severity ranging from mild to severe, and were recruited from health care and community agencies. MEASUREMENTS:: A study met the inclusion criteria if it: (a) was published in English; (b) included a control or comparison group; (c) published outcome data from the intervention under study; (d) reported hospitalization as one of the outcomes; (e) included community-dwelling older adults; and (f) enrolled participants with dementia. Ten studies met all inclusion criteria. RESULTS:: Of the 10 studies included, most assessed health services use (ie, hospitalizations) as a secondary outcome. Participants were recruited from a range of health care and community agencies, and most were diagnosed with dementia with severity ratings ranging from mild to severe. Most intervention strategies consisted of face-to-face assessments of the persons living with dementia, their caregivers, and the development and implementation of a care plan. A significant reduction in hospital admissions was not found in any of the included studies, although 1 study did observe a reduction in hospital days. CONCLUSIONS:: The majority of studies included hospitalizations as a secondary outcome. Only 1 intervention was found to have an effect on hospitalizations. Future work would benefit from strategies specifically designed to reduce and prevent acute hospitalizations in persons with dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-213
Number of pages7
JournalMedical care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2 2015


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Older adults
  • case management
  • dementia
  • hospitalizations
  • intervention studies
  • patient care management
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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