Objectives: To conduct a systematic literature review to determine if there were any intervention strategies that had any measurable effect on acute-care hospitalizations among community-dwelling adults with dementia.
Design: Studies were identified by a professional research librarian and content experts.
Setting: Community dwelling.
Participants: Participants were diagnosed with dementia, severity ranging from mild to severe, and were recruited from health care and community agencies.
Measurements: A study met the inclusion criteria if it: (a) was published in English; (b) included a control or comparison group; (c) published outcome data from the intervention under study; (d) reported hospitalization as one of the outcomes; (e) included community-dwelling older adults; and (f) enrolled participants with dementia. Ten studies met all inclusion criteria.
Results: Of the 10 studies included, most assessed health services use (ie, hospitalizations) as a secondary outcome. Participants were recruited from a range of health care and community agencies, and most were diagnosed with dementia with severity ratings ranging from mild to severe. Most intervention strategies consisted of face-to-face assessments of the persons living with dementia, their caregivers, and the development and implementation of a care plan. A significant reduction in hospital admissions was not found in any of the included studies, although 1 study did observe a reduction in hospital days.
Conclusions: The majority of studies included hospitalizations as a secondary outcome. Only 1 intervention was found to have an effect on hospitalizations. Future work would benefit from strategies specifically designed to reduce and prevent acute hospitalizations in persons with dementia.