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BEETLE (BEttEr ouTcomes for oLder pEople)

Status: Complete

The problem and why it is important

More patients aged 60 or over need planned surgery. These patients are more likely to experience difficulties, such as urinary infections or falls, whilst in hospital, so should not spend more time in hospital than necessary. Hospitals use strategies that shorten hospital stay, but we do not know how older patients, or carers, feel about these, or whether they help patients recover in the long term.

Our aims

We wanted to know:

  • how leaving hospital sooner affects how older patients feel and recover after planned surgery;
  • how older patients, carers and staff feel about strategies designed to support older patients to go home earlier;
  • which parts of these hospital care strategies work best?

What we did

We brought together research about hospital care strategies that shorten the length of time older patients spend in hospital. We looked at patient questionnaires and interviews with patients, carers and hospital staff. Patients and carers helped us plan our research, understand our findings and consider who to share these with.

Main messages

  • hospital strategies to reduce hospital stay achieve this, without increasing risk of complications;
  • information and follow-up care for patients and carers after discharge are essential;
  • strategies which consider the individual needs of patients and help them understand their treatment, focus on their recovery goals and develop supportive relationships with staff were linked to better outcomes;
  • lots of studies were excluded because they did not use patient questionnaires. Studies using questionnaires often focused on aspects of care delivered whilst patients were in hospital. Carers’ voices were often overlooked.

What should happen next

Research is needed to develop patient questionnaires to more fully capture the experiences of patients and carers and support hospitals to develop care strategies focused on the needs of individual patients and carers.

A link to the full report can be found here:

PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021230620
This report was commissioned by the NIHR HS&DR programme: NIHR130576.

The views and opinions expressed by authors in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NHS, the NIHR, NETSCC, the HS&DR programme or the Department of Health. Any errors are the responsibility of the authors.