Background: many frail older people who attend acute hospital settings and who are discharged home within short periods (up to 72 h) have poor outcomes. This review assessed the role of comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) for such people.
Methods: standard bibliographic databases were searched for high-quality randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of CGA in this setting. When appropriate, intervention effects were presented as rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals.
Results: five trials of sufficient quality were included. There was no clear evidence of benefit for CGA interventions in this population in terms of mortality [RR 0.92 (95% CI 0.55-1.52)] or readmissions [RR 0.95 (95% CI 0.83-1.08)] or for subsequent institutionalisation, functional ability, quality-of-life or cognition.
Conclusions: there is no clear evidence of benefit for CGA interventions in frail older people being discharged from emergency departments or acute medical units. However, few such trials have been carried out and their overall quality was poor. Further well designed trials are justified.