Thirty-one studies were included in the review (n=9,801 participants). Sample size ranged from 22 to 1,884 participants. Most (78%) of studies were RCTs, 16% were CCTs and two studies were pre/post-test design.
Study quality: Problems included lack of eligibility criteria for participants, lack of a priori sample size calculation and inadequate reporting of flow of participants. Just over half of the studies (58%) reported the reliability and validity of outcome measures. Results of the validity assessment were reported in full.
Most (81%) studies reported a positive outcome of individualised nursing interventions.
Approximately two-thirds (72%) of educational and counselling studies reported positive outcomes compared to ordinary, standardised or routine care.
Results for rehabilitation and exercise promoting interventions varied, with three of the five studies reporting positive effects in intervention groups. Two studies reported no difference between treatment groups.
Seven health promotion interventions reported positive intervention effects on health behaviours (six studies) and building confidence and reducing anxiety (one study). Four studies reported positive intervention effect on patients’ knowledge of medication (two studies) and smoking cessation (two studies). One study reported positive effects on nutritional intake. One study reported a positive effect on calcium intake in patients with an inadequate intake but an inappropriate increase in patients with an existing adequate intake.
Seven of eight studies reported positive intervention effects on clinical health status indicators, including activities of daily living and functional capacity (two studies), memory (one study), incontinence care without changes in skin health (one study), improved albumin levels in renal patients (one study), severe behavioural disturbances in nursing home residents (one study) and decreased urinary incontinence (one study). One study reported no intervention effect on agitation and psychotherapeutic medication administration.
Results for studies of falls prevention were mixed. Two of three studies reported no effect on falls in intervention groups. Two other studies reported positive intervention effects on speed of return to normal lifestyle (one study) and patient satisfaction (one study). One study reported no intervention effect on quality of life.
Three of four studies reported positive effects of interventions aimed at increasing screening mammography (two studies) and early detection of cancer (one study). One study reported no difference between intervention and control.
Four studies reported adverse events in intervention groups.