OBJECTIVES: To determine the effectiveness of a proactive primary care program on the daily functioning of
older people in primary care.
DESIGN: Single-blind, three-arm, cluster-randomized controlled trial with 1-year follow-up.
SETTING: Primary care setting, 39 general practices in the Netherlands.
PARTICIPANTS: Community-dwelling people aged 60 and older (N = 3,092).
INTERVENTIONS: A frailty screening intervention using routine electronic medical record data to identify older
people at risk of adverse events followed by usual care from a general practitioner; after the screening intervention, a nurse-led care program consisting of a comprehensive geriatric assessment, evidence-based care planning, care coordination, and follow-up; usual care.
MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome was daily functioning measured using the Katz-15 (6 activities of daily living (ADLs), 8 instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), one mobility item (range 0–15)); higher scores indicat greater dependence. Secondary outcomes included quality of life, primary care consultations, hospital admissions, emergency department visits, nursing home admissions, and mortality.
RESULTS: The participants in both intervention arms had less decline in daily functioning than those in the usual care arm at 12 months (mean Katz-15 score: screening arm, 1.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.77–1.97; screening and nurse-led care arm, 1.88, 95% CI = 1.80–1.96; control group, 2.03, 95% CI = 1.9 –2.13; P = .03). No differences in quality of life were observed.
CONCLUSION: Participants in both intervention groups had less decline than those in the control group at 1-year follow-up. Despite the statistically significant effect, the clinical relevance is uncertain at this point because of the small differences. Greater customizing of the intervention combined with prolonged follow-up may lead to more robust results.