Introduction: Many health care interventions have been developed that aim to improve or
maintain the quality of life for frail elderly. A clear overview of these health care interventions
for frail elderly and their effects on quality of life is missing.
Purpose: To provide a systematic overview of the effect of health care interventions on quality
of life of frail elderly.
Methods: A systematic search was conducted in Embase, Medline (OvidSP), Cochrane Central,
Cinahl, PsycInfo and Web of Science, up to and including November 2017. Studies describing
health care interventions for frail elderly were included if the effect of the intervention on
quality of life was described. The effects of the interventions on quality of life were described
in an overview of the included studies.
Results: In total 4,853 potentially relevant articles were screened for relevance, of which 19
intervention studies met the inclusion criteria. The studies were very heterogeneous in the
design: measurement of frailty, health care intervention and outcome measurement differ. Health
care interventions described were: multidisciplinary treatment, exercise programs, testosterone
gel, nurse home visits and acupuncture. Seven of the nineteen intervention studies, describing
different health care interventions, reported a statistically significant effect on subdomains of
quality of life, two studies reported a statistically significant effect of the intervention on the
overall quality of life score. Ten studies reported no statistically significant difference between
the intervention and control groups.
Conclusion: Reported effects of health care interventions on frail elderly persons’ quality of
life are inconsistent, with most of the studies reporting no differences between the intervention
and control groups. As the number of frail elderly persons in the population will continue to
grow, it will be important to continue the search for effective health care interventions. Alignment
of studies in design and outcome measurements is needed.