Forty-eight studies (49 interventions) were included in the review. Forty-six studies were randomised. Eleven studies reported follow-up data for longer than six months after the end of the intervention.
Comprehensive geriatric assessment (26 studies): Several different forms of comprehensive geriatric assessment were identified: transmural care (seven studies); community-based care (assessment followed by referrals and recommendations) (four studies); and community-based care (assessment followed by treatment) (15 studies).
One study of transmural care showed a significant effect in favour of the intervention. One of the four community-based care studies in which assessment was followed by referrals and recommendations showed a significant effect in favour of the intervention. Nine of the 15 studies in which assessment was followed by treatment showed a significant positive effect.
Physical exercise (12 studies): Four studies, three of which were multi-component, showed significant positive impact of the intervention on disability; this may have been limited to moderately physically frail older persons.
Nutrition (three studies): None of the three studies showed evidence of an impact of nutritional interventions on disability.
Technological interventions (two studies): Both of the included studies of assistive devices and home modifications showed a significant positive impact on disability in the experimental group.
Other interventions (six studies): One of the six studies found a significant positive effect for a programme delivered by a nurse during home care attendance.