Effects of reablement programs for older people: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

      Summary of relevance

      • Problem or issue: Inactivity among older people effects their physical fitness and is associated to frailty, fall risks, and diminishing physical functionality.
      • What is already known: Reablement programs implemented or supported by healthcare professionals have shown positive impact on retaining and restoring needed skills.
      • What this paper adds: This review provides evidence that reablement intervention helps older people to regain functional ability with heterogeneous results relating to quality of life, hospitalisation, and unplanned emergency departments visits.



      Reablement intervention programs are designed to support independence for older people by helping them retain and restore capacity with regularly used needed skills. This comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis sought to update and synthesise evidence for the effectiveness of reablement programs for older people.


      To examine the effect of the reablement programs for older people over 65 years of age. Reablement intervention programs are designed to support independence for older people by helping them retain and restore capacity with regularly used needed skills.


      This systematic review and meta-analysis were performed adhering to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Several databases were searched. No language restrictions were applied. The Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and ReMan5.3.3 were used for quality assessment and meta-analysis.


      The effectiveness of the reablement programs for older people was examined on outcomes of Activities of Daily Living, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, quality of life, unplanned emergency departments visits and hospitalisation. Ten studies comprising 3,247 older people showed the positive benefits of the reablement programs on Activities of Daily Living, and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. However, there were no observed significant differences on improving quality of life, hospitalisation and unplanned emergency visits in our meta-analysis.


      Published research on reablement programs is currently limited. While well-designed reablement intervention programs can have a positive impact on function among older people there is heterogeneity of results in the literature with respect to quality of life, hospitalisation and unplanned visits to the emergency department. Additional research and studies with rigorous methodological quality are needed in this important space.


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