Older adults who receive direct support for up to 90 days after a care transition have lower odds of hospital readmission and better medication continuity, according to a new meta-analysis.

The most effective support? Medication reconciliation, telephone followup and patient education that led to self-management activities, reported investigators from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom. The longer the transition care intervention and the more components it had, the better the outcomes, they found. 

Medication-related problems are a frequent occurrence when older patients are discharged from the hospital. Among the interventions evaluated, medication reconciliation significantly reduced hospital readmissions and was linked to fewer medication errors, whether it was performed manually or electronically, the researchers wrote.

Self-management education was also found to be highly effective. 

“Promoting self-management in older patients has received global attention as it is thought to improve a patient’s ability to manage their long-term conditions,” wrote pharmacist-researcher Justine Tomlinson and colleagues. “Despite this, self-management activities were used in less than half of included studies.” 

The review was published online in Age and Ageing.