The effectiveness of an integrated care pathway in geriatric rehabilitation among older patients with complex health problems and their informal caregivers: a prospective cohort study

Irma H. J. Everink*, Jolanda C. M. van Haastregt, Frans E. S. Tan, Jos M. G. A. Schols, Gertrudis I. J. M. Kempen

*Corresponding author for this work

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BackgroundTo improve continuity and coordination of care in geriatric rehabilitation, an integrated care pathway was developed and implemented in The Netherlands. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of this pathway on patients and informal caregivers.MethodsTwo cohorts of patients and their informal caregivers were prospectively recruited before implementation of the pathway (2011-2012) and after implementation of the pathway (2013-2014). Primary outcome measures were dependence in activities of daily living in patients (KATZ-15) and self-rated burden among informal caregivers (SRB-VAS). Secondary outcome measures were the frequency of performing extended daily activities, social participation, psychological well-being, quality of life and discharge location (patients) and quality of life and objective care burden (informal caregivers). Outcomes were measured at baseline, after three and after nine months.ResultsNo effect was shown on the KATZ-15 after three and nine months. However, a larger percentage of patients were discharged home in the care pathway cohort (83% vs 58.1% after three months and 88.6% vs 67.4% after nine months; p=0.004). Furthermore, after three months, patients from the care pathway cohort performed more extended daily activities (p=0.014) and informal caregivers experienced a lower self-rated burden (p=0.05). After nine months, these effects disappeared. No differences were found for the other outcome measures.ConclusionsDue to the positive effects of the integrated care pathway, we are inclined to recommend implementing the care pathway in regular care. To have longer lasting effects among patients and informal caregivers, we suggest actively disseminating information about the pathway to primary care providers who are currently still unaware of its content.Trial registrationISRCTN90000867 (date of registration: 07-04-2016).

Original languageEnglish
Article number285
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018


  • Aged
  • Geriatric rehabilitation
  • Subacute care
  • Integrated care
  • Pathway
  • Dependence in activities of daily living
  • Informal care

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