Effectiveness of acute geriatric unit care on functional decline and process outcomes among older adults admitted to hospital with acute medical complaints: a protocol for a systematic review

BMJ Open. 2021 Oct 27;11(10):e050524. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050524.


INTRODUCTION: Older adults are clinically heterogeneous and are at increased risk of adverse outcomes during hospitalisation due to the presence of multiple comorbid conditions and reduced homoeostatic reserves. Acute geriatric units (AGUs) are units designed with their own physical location and structure, which provide care to older adults during the acute phase of illness and are underpinned by an interdisciplinary comprehensive geriatric assessment model of care. This review aims to update and synthesise the totality of evidence related to the effectiveness of AGU care on clinical and process outcomes among older adults admitted to hospital with acute medical complaints.

DESIGN: Updated systematic review and meta-analysis METHODS AND ANALYSIS: MEDLINE, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library and Embase electronic databases will be systematically searched from 2008 to February 2021. Trials with a randomised design that deliver an AGU intervention to older adults admitted to hospital for acute medical complaints will be included. The primary outcome measure will be functional decline at discharge from hospital and at follow-up. Secondary outcomes will include length of stay, cost of index admission, incidence of unscheduled hospital readmission, living at home (the inverse of death or institutionalisation combined; used to describe someone who is in their own home at follow-up), mortality, cognitive function and patient satisfaction with index admission. Title and abstract screening of studies for full-text extraction will be conducted independently by two authors. The Cochrane risk of bias 2 tool will be used to assess the methodological quality of the included trials. The quality of evidence for outcomes reported will be assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluations framework. A pooled meta-analysis will be conducted using Review Manager, depending on the uniformity of the data.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Formal ethical approval is not required as all data collected will be secondary data and will be analysed anonymously. The authors will present the findings of the review to a patient and public involvement stakeholder panel of older adults that has been established at the Ageing Research Centre in the University of Limerick. This will enable the views and opinions of older adults to be integrated into the discussion section of the paper.


PMID:34706953 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050524

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