Background: Frail older people who are considering movement into residential aged care or returning home following a hospital admission often face complex and difficult decisions.Despite research interest in this area, a recent Cochrane review was unable to identify any studies of interventions to support decision-making in this group that met the experimental or quasi-experimental study design criteria.
Aims: This study tests the impact of a multi-component coaching intervention on the quality of preparation for care transitions, targeted to older adults and informal carers. In addition, the study assesses the impact of investing specialist geriatric resources into consultations with families in an intermediate care setting where decisions about future care needs are being made.
Method: This study was a randomised controlled trial of 230 older adults admitted to intermediate care in Australia. Masked assessment at 3 and 12 months examined physical functioning, health-related quality of life and utilisation of health and aged care resources. A geriatrician and specialist nurse delivered a coaching intervention to both the older person and their carer/family. Components of the intervention included provision of a Question Prompt List prior to meeting with a geriatrician (to clarify medical conditions and treatments, medications, 'red flags', end of life decisions and options for future health care) and a follow-up meeting with a nurse who remained in telephone contact. Participants received a printed summary and an audio recording of the meeting with the geriatrician.
Conclusion: The costs and outcomes of the intervention are compared with usual care.
Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000638437).
Keywords: Caregivers; continuity of patient care; cost-benefit analysis; health care costs; intermediate care facilities; patient-centred care; quality of life; randomised controlled trial.