Objective: To test Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) as an adjunct to usual care.
Design: A randomized controlled trial with 3, 6, and 12 months follow-up.
Setting: Rural communities.
Patients: A total of 182 of 265 frail older patients (52 refused, 2 withdrawn, 27 ineligible, 2 deaths) referred by family practitioners with allocation to intervention (n = 95) or usual care (n = 87).
Intervention: Three-month implementation of CGA recommendations by a Mobile Geriatric Assessment Team (MGAT) with follow-up assessments at 3, 6, and 12 months. Geriatric nurse assessors, blinded to group assignment, performed each assessment.
Main outcome measure: Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS).
Results: Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups. At 3 months, the intervention group was more likely to attain their goals (GAS total: chi = 46.4 +/- 5.9; GAS outcome chi = 48.0 +/- 6.6) compared with controls (total: chi = 38.7 +/- 4.1; outcome chi = 40.8 +/- 5.6) (P < .001). Standard assessments of function (Barthel index, instrumental activities of daily living), cognition (Mini-Mental State Examination), and quality of life (modified Spitzer quality of life index) showed no difference over 12 months. No difference in survival (intervention: chi = 320 days, SE = 6; control: chi = 294 days, SE = 6; P = .257) or time to institutionalization (intervention: 340 days, SE = 9; control: 342 days, SE = 8; log rank = 0.661; P = .416) were observed.
Conclusions: A MGAT can target rural dwelling, frail older persons, perform in-home CGA, and develop an intervention strategy. Although the intervention did not prolong life or delay institutionalization, clinically important benefits were observed.