Advancing aged care: a systematic review of economic evaluations of workforce structures and care processes in a residential care setting
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Long-term care for older people is provided in both residential and non-residential settings, with residential settings tending to cater for individuals with higher care needs. Evidence relating to the costs and effectiveness of different workforce structures and care processes is important to facilitate the future planning of residential aged care services to promote high quality care and to enhance the quality of life of individuals living in residential care. A systematic review conducted up to December 2015 identified 19 studies containing an economic component; seven included a complete economic evaluation and 12 contained a cost analysis only. Key findings include the potential to create cost savings from a societal perspective through enhanced staffing levels and quality improvement interventions within residential aged care facilities, while integrated care models, including the integration of health disciplines and the integration between residents and care staff, were shown to have limited cost-saving potential. Six of the 19 identified studies examined dementia-specific structures and processes, in which person-centred interventions demonstrated the potential to reduce agitation and improve residents’ quality of life. Importantly, this review highlights methodological limitations in the existing evidence and an urgent need for future research to identify appropriate and meaningful outcome measures that can be used at a service planning level.
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