Document Type


Publication Date



Health Sciences


Objective: To evaluate the impact of a provider initiated primary care outreach intervention compared with usual care among older adults at risk of functional decline.

Design: Randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Patients enrolled with 35 family physicians in five primary care networks in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Participants: Patients were eligible if they were 75 years of age or older and were not receiving home care services. Of 3166 potentially eligible patients, 2662 (84%) completed the validated postal questionnaire used to determine risk of functional decline. Of 1724 patients who met the risk criteria, 769 (45%) agreed to participate and 719 were randomised.

Intervention: The 12 month intervention, provided by experienced home care nurses in 2004-6, consisted of a comprehensive initial assessment using the resident assessment instrument for home care; collaborative care planning with patients, their families, and family physicians; health promotion; and referral to community health and social support services.

Main outcome measures: Quality adjusted life years (QALYs), use and costs of health and social services, functional status, self rated health, and mortality.

Results: The mean difference in QALYs between intervention and control patients during the study period was not statistically significant (0.017, 95% confidence interval ?0.022 to 0.056; P=0.388). The mean difference in overall cost of prescription drugs and services between the intervention and control groups was not statistically significant, (-$C165 (£107; €118; $162), 95% confidence interval -$C16 545 to $$16 214; P=0.984). Changes over 12 months in functional status and self rated health were not significantly different between the intervention and control groups. Ten patients died in each group.

Conclusions: The results of this study do not support adoption of this preventive primary care intervention for this target population of high risk older adults.


This article was originally published in BMJ, 2010;340:c1480 doi:10.1136/bmj.c1480.