Background: older people often experience complex problems. Because of multiple problems, care for older people in general practice needs to shift from a 'problem-based, disease-oriented' care aiming at improvement of outcomes per disease to a 'goal-oriented care', aiming at improvement of functioning and personal quality of life, integrating all healthcare providers. Feasibility and cost-effectiveness of this proactive and integrated way of working are not yet established.
Design: cluster randomised trial.
Participants: all persons aged ≥75 in 59 general practices (30 intervention, 29 control), with a combination of problems, as identified with a structured postal questionnaire with 21 questions on four health domains.
Intervention: for participants with problems on ≥3 domains, general practitioners (GPs) made an integrated care plan using a functional geriatric approach. Control practices: care as usual.
Outcome measures: (i) quality of life (QoL), (ii) activities of daily living, (iii) satisfaction with delivered health care and (iv) cost-effectiveness of the intervention at 1-year follow-up.
Trial registration: Netherlands trial register, NTR1946.
Results: of the 11,476 registered eligible older persons, 7,285 (63%) participated in the screening. One thousand nine hundred and twenty-one (26%) had problems on ≥3 health domains. For 225 randomly chosen persons, a care plan was made. No beneficial effects were found on QoL, patients' functioning or healthcare use/costs. GPs experienced better overview of the care and stability, e.g. less unexpected demands, in the care.
Conclusions: GPs prefer proactive integrated care. 'Horizontal' care using care plans for older people with complex problems can be a valuable tool in general practice. However, no direct beneficial effect was found for older persons.
Keywords: aged; integrated care; older people; primary care; proactive care.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society.