Evidence Summary

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Self-management programs are an effective means of improving the ability of older adults to carry out daily activities

van Het Bolscher-Niehuis MJ, den Ouden ME, de Vocht HM, Francke AL. Effects of self-management support programmes on activities of daily living of older adults: A systematic review International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2016;61:230-247

Review question

  • What are the effects of self-management support programs on the ability of older adults to perform important daily activities?


  • Older adults living in the community often face health challenges that impair their ability to carry out important daily activities (e.g., eating, bathing, dressing).
  • Currently, older adults living in the community are seldom given specific instruction on how to manage their own daily activities when dealing with chronic conditions and other health problems.
  • This review was done to assess the effectiveness of self-management programs in improving the ability of older adults to carry out daily activities.

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of five electronic databases was conducted for studies published up to and including February 2016. Studies that focused on community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older, self-management support programs, and outcomes relating to the performance of daily activities were included in the review.
  • A total of 5,220 studies were identified in searches, and 10 were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
  • The authors stated that there were no external sources of funding for this review.

What the researchers found

  • The review found that self-management support programs may prevent or delay the decline the ability ¬†of older adults to perform daily activities.
  • The authors reinforced the idea that effective self-management support interventions had a multi-component structure, contained disease-specific information, and included personalized instruction and feedback for older adults.


  • This review found that self-management support programs improve the ability of older adults to perform important daily tasks, such as eating and bathing. More evidence is required to identify whether self-management support programs should be taught in group or individual settings, and whether they should be delivered with or without usual care programs.

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DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

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