Providing elderly people with complex, community-based interventions after a stay in hospital can help delay or reduce their risk of going into residential care.
The Lancet performed a systematic meta-analysis of 89 randomised controlled trials of community care programs for people aged 65 and over who were living at home.
To be included in the analysis, the studies had to have at least six months of follow up.
The review looked at a range of outcomes, including death, nursing home and hospital admissions, falls and physical function for almost 100,000 older people.
It found that home and community-based interventions reduced the risk of admission to a nursing home by 13 per cent but had little effect on mortality.
The risk of hospital admissions and falls were also reduced with community programs and overall physical function was better among those receiving interventions.
“Complex interventions can help elderly people to live safely and independently, and could be tailored to meet individuals’ needs and preferences,” the authors concluded.
There was no evidence to show that one particular type of intervention was better than another.