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Open Access Research article

A systematic mapping review of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) in care homes

Adam L Gordon1*, Phillipa A Logan1, Rob G Jones2, Calum Forrester-Paton3, Jonathan P Mamo4, John RF Gladman1 and Medical Crises in Older People Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

3 Department of Health Care of Older People, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK

4 Department of Medicine, Peterborough City Hospital, Peterborough, UK

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BMC Geriatrics 2012, 12:31  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-31

Published: 25 June 2012

Abstract

Background

A thorough understanding of the literature generated from research in care homes is required to support evidence-based commissioning and delivery of healthcare. So far this research has not been compiled or described. We set out to describe the extent of the evidence base derived from randomized controlled trials conducted in care homes.

Methods

A systematic mapping review was conducted of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted in care homes. Medline was searched for “Nursing Home”, “Residential Facilities” and “Homes for the Aged”; CINAHL for “nursing homes”, “residential facilities” and “skilled nursing facilities”; AMED for “Nursing homes”, “Long term care”, “Residential facilities” and “Randomized controlled trial”; and BNI for “Nursing Homes”, “Residential Care” and “Long-term care”. Articles were classified against a keywording strategy describing: year and country of publication; randomization, stratification and blinding methodology; target of intervention; intervention and control treatments; number of subjects and/or clusters; outcome measures; and results.

Results

3226 abstracts were identified and 291 articles reviewed in full. Most were recent (median age 6 years) and from the United States. A wide range of targets and interventions were identified. Studies were mostly functional (44 behaviour, 20 prescribing and 20 malnutrition studies) rather than disease-based. Over a quarter focussed on mental health.

Conclusions

This study is the first to collate data from all RCTs conducted in care homes and represents an important resource for those providing and commissioning healthcare for this sector. The evidence-base is rapidly developing. Several areas - influenza, falls, mobility, fractures, osteoporosis – are appropriate for systematic review. For other topics, researchers need to focus on outcome measures that can be compared and collated.