Background: Hospital-to-home transitions become more frequent and complex as people approach end of life. Although carers are critical to enabling these transitions, they report high levels of unmet need. A review of the interventions to assist these care transitions, along with understanding those intervention components and mechanisms that support carers of people with advanced illness, is required to inform an optimal care model for palliative care practice.
Aim: To describe the characteristics and reporting quality of intervention studies aimed at improving hospital-to-home transitions for carers of people with advanced illness.
Design: This is a systematic review with a narrative synthesis. (international prospective register of systematic reviews [PROSPERO] ID: CRD42020192088).
Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMCare, and PsychINFO databases were searched (2000-2021) for prospective studies reporting on interventions that (1) aimed to improve hospital-to-home transitions and (2) targeted carers of people with advanced illness. The Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist and constructs of the Care Transition Framework were used to assess the reporting quality of intervention design, delivery, and outcomes.
Results: In total, 37 articles were analyzed that included a range of study designs, interventions, and outcomes. Health care utilization (n = 29) and clinical patient-related (n = 21) measures were the most reported outcome. Theoretical discussion was minimal (n = 5) with most studies using efficacy data from past research to justify intervention choice.
Conclusion: Carers are critical partners in hospital-to-home transitions at end of life; yet they are largely under-represented in intervention design, delivery, and outcomes. Improving the reporting quality of carer-focused care transition interventions will inform future study design and support translation into practice and policy.
- palliative care
- patient transfer
- systematic review