Intended for healthcare professionals


Randomised trial of impact of model of integrated care and case management for older people living in the community

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 02 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1348
  1. Roberto Bernabei, associate professor (md0516{at},
  2. Francesco Landi, assistant professora,
  3. Giovanni Gambassi, assistant professora,
  4. Antonio Sgadari, assistant professora,
  5. Giuseppe Zuccala, assistant professora,
  6. Vincent Mor, professorb,
  7. Laurence Z Rubenstein, professorc,
  8. PierUgo Carbonin, professora
  1. a Istituto di Medicina Interna e Geriatria, Universitá Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 00168 Rome, Italy
  2. b Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Department of Community Health, Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI 02912, USA
  3. c Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, UCLA School of Medicine, Sepulveda, CA 91343, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Bernabei
  • Accepted 7 January 1998


Objective: To evaluate the impact of a programme of integrated social and medical care among frail elderly people living in the community.

Design: Randomised study with 1 year follow up.

Setting: Town in northern Italy (Rovereto).

Subjects: 200 older people already receiving conventional community care services.

Intervention: Random allocation to an intervention group receiving integrated social and medical care and case management or to a control group receiving conventional care.

Main outcome measures: Admission to an institution, use and costs of health services, variations in functional status.

Results: Survival analysis showed that admission to hospital or nursing home in the intervention group occurred later and was less common than in controls (hazard ratio 0.69; 95% confidence interval 0.53 to 0.91). Health services were used to the same extent, but control subjects received more frequent home visits by general practitioners. In the intervention group the estimated financial savings were in the order of £1125 ($1800) per year of follow up. The intervention group had improved physical function (activities of daily living score improved by 5.1% v 13.0% loss in controls; P<0.001). Decline of cognitive status (measured by the short portable mental status questionnaire) was also reduced (3.8% v 9.4%; P<0.05).

Conclusion: Integrated social and medical care with case management programmes may provide a cost effective approach to reduce admission to institutions and functional decline in older people living in the community.

Key messages

  • Responsibility for management of care of elderly people living in the community is poorly defined

  • Integration of medical and social services together with care management programmes would improve such care in the community

  • In a comparison of this option with a traditional and fragmented model of community care the integrated care approach reduced admission to institutions and functional decline in frail elderly people living in the community and also reduced costs


    • Accepted 7 January 1998
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