Interventions for reducing hospital-associated deconditioning: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2020 Sep-Oct:90:104176. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2020.104176. Epub 2020 Jul 6.


Purpose: To determine the effectiveness of hospital-based interventions designed to reduce Hospital-Associated Deconditioning (HAD) for people in inpatient hospital settings.

Materials & methods: Systematic literature search of published and unpublished databases was conducted from (inception to 01 June 2020). Randomised and non-randomised controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of enhanced inpatient programmes aimed to reduce HAD in adults admitted to a hospital ward were included. Evidence was appraised using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and outcomes evaluated against the GRADE criteria. Where appropriate, data were pooled in meta-analyses and presented as risk difference (RD) or standardised mean difference with 95 % confidence intervals (CI).

Results: Seven studies recruiting 12,597 participants (7864 enhanced programmes; 4349 usual care) were included. There was low-quality evidence for reduced risk of decline in physical performance for those in the enhanced programmes compared to usual care (RD: -0.04; 95 % CI: -0.08 to -0.01; N = 2085). There was low- or very-low quality evidence reporting no benefit of enhanced programmes for mobility on discharge, length of hospital stay, hospital readmission, and mortality within the first three-months post-admission (p > 0.05). There was low-quality evidence that nursing home placement and mortality at 12-months was superior through enhanced inpatient programmes compared to usual care.

Conclusion: Enhanced inpatient programmes targeted at HAD may offer benefit over usual care for some outcomes. There remain uncertainty in relation to how applicable the findings are to non-North American countries, which elements of an enhanced programme are most important to reduce HAD, and longer-term sequelae.

Keywords: Bed-rest; Deconditioning; Frailty; Inpatient; Physical inactivity; Ward intervention.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Patient Readmission