Does case conferencing for people with advanced dementia living in nursing homes improve care outcomes: evidence from an integrative review?

Int J Nurs Stud. 2013 Aug;50(8):1122-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


Objective: This integrative review aimed to appraise the evidence for case conferencing as an intervention to improve palliative care outcomes for older people living with advanced dementia in nursing homes.

Design: An integrative review of English language citations from CINHAL, MEDLINE, PSYCHINFO and CareSearch using a palliative care filter was undertaken. Two reviewers screened 238 titles to find 77 relevant articles which were reviewed in detail to identify nine studies that addressed the specific review questions. The analysis process allowed study characteristics, process and outcome measures along with implementation barriers and facilitators to be identified and the results synthesised.

Results: The highest level of evidence (Level II) was generated by two randomised controlled case conferencing trials which demonstrated enhance medication management for people with dementia living in a nursing home. Several pre-post test studies suggest that case conferencing enhances palliative symptom management and care outcomes in nursing homes. Qualitative evidence suggests that case conferencing is feasible and worthwhile if the identified barriers are addressed and the facilitators optimised.

Conclusions: Case conferencing provides opportunities to improve care palliative care outcomes for older people with dementia by engaging family and all relevant internal and external health providers in prospective care planning. More evidence is needed to determine the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of case conferencing as a strategy for improving care outcomes for older people living with advanced dementia in nursing homes. The evidence generated by this integrative review will be of interest to policy makers, aged care organisations and clinicians alike, especially as services endeavour to meet the increasingly complex care needs of older people admitted to nursing homes with advanced dementia, and the needs of their families.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Dementia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*