Background: People suffering from dementia are particularly vulnerable to the gaps between the health and social service systems. Case management is a professional field that seeks to fill in these gaps and remedy this fragmentation.
Methods: We report the results of a systematic literature review of the impact of case management programs on clinical outcomes and the utilization of resources by persons with dementia. We focused on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and attempted to identify the factors that might contribute to greater program efficacy. Because the evaluation methods in these studies varied, we used the effect size method to estimate the magnitude of the statistically significant effects reported.
Results: Our search strategy identified 17 references relating to six RCTs. Four of these six RCTs reported moderately statistically significant effects (effect size, 0.2-0.8) on their primary end point: the clinical outcome in three and resource utilization in one. Two of the RCTs reported weak or no effects (effect size, <0.2) on their primary end point. Because of the wide variety of the end points used, an overall effect size could not be calculated. Parameters that appear to be related to greater case management efficacy are the integration level between the health and social service organizations and the intensity of the case management.
Conclusions: Integration and case management intensity seem to determine the magnitude of the clinical effects in this new professional field. Further studies are needed to clarify the economic impact.
Copyright © 2012 The Alzheimer's Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.