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Open Access Research article

Impact of geriatric consultation teams on clinical outcome in acute hospitals: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Mieke Deschodt12*, Johan Flamaing2, Patrick Haentjens3, Steven Boonen24 and Koen Milisen12*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Health Services and Nursing Research, KU Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 35/4, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

2 Division of Geriatric Medicine, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

3 Center for Outcomes Research, Laboratory for Experimental Surgery, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 101, 1090 Brussel, Belgium

4 Center for Metabolic Bone Diseases, University Hospitals Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven, 3000, Belgium

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BMC Medicine 2013, 11:48  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-48

Please see related commentary article here

Published: 22 February 2013



Comprehensive geriatric assessment for older patients admitted to dedicated wards has proven to be beneficial, but the impact of comprehensive geriatric assessment delivered by mobile inpatient geriatric consultation teams remains unclear. This review and meta-analysis aims to determine the impact of inpatient geriatric consultation teams on clinical outcomes of interest in older adults.


An electronic search of Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, Web of Science and Invert for English, French and Dutch articles was performed from inception to June 2012. Three independent reviewers selected prospective cohort studies assessing functional status, readmission rate, mortality or length of stay in adults aged 60 years or older. Twelve studies evaluating 4,546 participants in six countries were identified. Methodological quality of the included studies was assessed with the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies.


The individual studies show that an inpatient geriatric consultation team intervention has favorable effects on functional status, readmission and mortality rate. None of the studies found an effect on the length of the hospital stay. The meta-analysis found a beneficial effect of the intervention with regard to mortality rate at 6 months (relative risk 0.66; 95% confidence interval 0.52 to 0.85) and 8 months (relative risk 0.51; confidence interval 0.31 to 0.85) after hospital discharge.


Inpatient geriatric consultation team interventions have a significant impact on mortality rate at 6 and 8 months postdischarge, but have no significant impact on functional status, readmission or length of stay. The reason for the lack of effect on these latter outcomes may be due to insufficient statistical power or the insensitivity of the measuring method for, for example, functional status. The questions of to whom IGCT intervention should be targeted and what can be achieved remain unanswered and require further research.

Trial registration: CRD42011001420 ( webcite)

Acute care; functional status; geriatric consultation; meta-analysis; systematic review