Transitional care of older adults in skilled nursing facilities: A systematic review

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Abstract

Transitional care may be an effective strategy for preparing older adults for transitions from skilled nursing facilities (SNF) to home. In this systematic review, studies of patients discharged from SNFs to home were reviewed. Study findings were assessed (1) to identify whether transitional care interventions, as compared to usual care, improved clinical outcomes such as mortality, readmission rates, quality of life or functional status; and (2) to describe intervention characteristics, resources needed for implementation, and methodologic challenges. Of 1082 unique studies identified in a systematic search, the full texts of six studies meeting criteria for inclusion were reviewed. Although the risk for bias was high across studies, the findings suggest that there is promising but limited evidence that transitional care improves clinical outcomes for SNF patients. Evidence in the review identifies needs for further study, such as the need for randomized studies of transitional care in SNFs, and methodological challenges to studying transitional care for SNF patients.

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