A systematic review of comprehensive geriatric assessment to improve outcomes for frail older people being rapidly discharged from acute hospital: 'interface geriatrics'

Age Ageing. 2011 Jul;40(4):436-43. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afr060. Epub 2011 May 26.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Cognition
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Geriatrics*
  • Hospital Units*
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Patient Readmission
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome