Effectiveness of comprehensive care programs for patients with multiple chronic conditions or frailty: A systematic literature review

Petra Hopman, Simone R. De Bruin, Maria João Forjaz, Carmen Rodriguez-blazquez, Giuseppe Tonnara, Lidwien C. Lemmens, Graziano Onder, Caroline A. Baan, Mieke Rijken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


To describe comprehensive care programs targeting multimorbid and/or frail patients and to estimate their effectiveness regarding improvement of patient and caregiver related outcomes, healthcare utilization and costs.
Systematic search in six electronic databases for scientific papers published between January 2011 and March 2014, supplemented by reference tracking. Wagner's Chronic Care Model (CCM) was used to operationalize comprehensive care. The quality of the included studies was assessed, and a best-evidence synthesis was applied.
Nineteen publications were included describing effects of eighteen comprehensive care programs for multimorbid or frail patients, of which only one was implemented in a European country. Programs varied in target groups, settings, interventions and number of CCM components addressed. Providing comprehensive care might result in more patient satisfaction, less depressive symptoms, a better health-related quality of life or functioning of multimorbid or frail patients, but the evidence is insufficient. There is no evidence that comprehensive care reduces the number of primary care or GP visits or healthcare costs. Regarding the use of inpatient care, the evidence was insufficient. No evidence was found for a beneficial effect of comprehensive care on caregiver-related outcomes.
Despite the fact that over the years several (good-quality) studies have been performed to estimate the value of comprehensive care for multimorbid and/or frail patients, evidence for their effectiveness remains insufficient. More good-quality studies and/or studies allowing meta-analysis are needed to determine which specific target groups at what moment will benefit from comprehensive care. Moreover, evaluation studies could improve by using more appropriate outcome measures, e.g. measures that relate to patient-defined (personal) goals of care.
Keywords: Chronic care, Comprehensive care, Effectiveness, Frailty, Integrated care, Multimorbidity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-832
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


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