Should care managers for older adults be located in primary care? A randomized controlled trial

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Jan;60(1):86-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03763.x.


Objectives: To determine the effect of a primary care-based care management initiative on residential care placement and death in a population of frail older adults referred for needs assessment in New Zealand.

Design: Randomized controlled trial with follow-up at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months for residential care placement and mortality.

Setting: Fifty-five family physician practices in New Zealand that established a care management initiative for older adults assessed as being at high risk of residential care placement in 2004 to 2006.

Participants: Three hundred fifty-one individuals (243 female, 108 male) aged 65 and older (mean 81) who were assessed as being at risk of permanent residential care placement.

Interventions: The care management program (Coordinator of Services for Elderly) consisted of a nominated health professional care manager geographically aligned to family physicians housed with the family physician or located nearby.

Measurements: Rates of permanent residential care placement and mortality.

Results: The risk of permanent residential care placement or death was 0.36 for usual care (control group) and 0.26 for the care management initiative, a 10.2% absolute risk reduction, with the majority of the risk reduction seen in residential care placement (control group 0.25, intervention group 0.16).

Conclusion: A family physician-aligned community care management approach reduces frail older adults' risk of mortality and permanent residential care placement.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disease Management*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Patient Care Management / organization & administration*
  • Physicians, Family / supply & distribution*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors