Geriatric care increasingly needs more multidisciplinary health care services to deliver the necessary complex and continuous care. The aim of this study is to summarize indicators of effective interprofessional outcomes for this population. A systematic review is performed in the Cochrane Library, Pubmed (Medline), Embase, Cinahl and Psychinfo with a search until June 2014. Overall, 689 references were identified of which 29 studies met the inclusion criteria. All outcome indicators were summarized in three categories: collaboration, patient level outcome and costs. Seventeen out of 24 outcome indicators within the category of ‘collaboration’ reached significant difference in advantage of the intervention group. On ‘patient outcome level’ only 15 out of 32 outcome parameters met statistical significance. In the category of ‘costs’ only one study reached statistical significance.
The overall effects of interprofessional interventions for elderly are positive, but based on heterogeneous outcomes. Outcome indicators of interprofessional collaboration for elderly with a significant effect can be summarized in three main categories: ‘collaboration’, patient level’ and ‘costs’. For ‘collaboration’ the outcome indicators are key elements of collaboration, involved disciplines, professional and patient satisfaction and quality of care. On ‘patient level’ the outcome indicators are pain, fall incidence, quality of life, independence for daily life activities, depression and agitated behaviour, transitions, length of stay in hospital, mortality and period of rehabilitation. ‘Costs’ of interprofessional interventions on short- and long-term for elderly need further investigation.
When organizing interprofessional collaboration or interprofessional education these outcome indicators can be considered as important topics to be addressed. Overall more research is needed to gain insight in the process of interprofessional collaboration and so to learn to work interprofessionally.