Geriatric patient care by U.S. pharmacists in healthcare teams: systematic review and meta-analyses

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Jul;61(7):1119-27. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12323. Epub 2013 Jun 24.


Objectives: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analyses to examine the effects of pharmacists' care on geriatric patient-oriented health outcomes in the United States (U.S.).

Design: Studies examining U.S. pharmacists' patient care services from inception of the databases through July 2012 were searched. The databases searched include PubMed/MEDLINE, Ovid/MEDLINE, ABI/INFORM, Health Business Fulltext Elite, Academic Search Complete, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, PsycINFO, Cochrane Database, and Clinical Studies reporting pharmacists' intervention for geriatric patients, comparison groups, and patient-oriented outcomes were assessed. Dual review for inclusion and data extraction were performed.

Setting: University of Arizona College of Pharmacy.

Measurements: Study and participant characteristics, pharmacist intervention, and outcomes with data for meta-analyses were collected. A forest plot was constructed to obtain a pooled standardized mean difference using a random effects model.

Results: One hundred fifty-two articles were reviewed, with 20 resulting studies included in the final meta-analyses. Study sample size ranged from 36 to 4,218, with mean age of subjects being 65 and older. The studies were most frequently conducted in ambulatory care clinics, followed by inpatient settings; the majority focused on multiple diseases and conditions. Pharmacist activities varied widely, with technical interventions used most often. Favorable results were found in all outcome categories, and meta-analyses conducted for therapeutic, safety, hospitalization, and adherence were significant (P < .001), favoring pharmacist care over comparison. Some identifiable variability existed between included studies.

Conclusion: Pharmacist intervention has favorable effects on therapeutic, safety, hospitalization, and adherence outcomes in older adults. Pharmacists should be involved in team-based care of older adults.

Keywords: direct patient care; meta-analysis; older adults; pharmacists; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Geriatrics*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacists*
  • Professional Role*
  • United States