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Nurse-delivered patient education is a promising but unproven way to improve quality of life for older adults in hospital

Strupeit S, Buss A, Dassen T  Effectiveness of nurse-delivered patient education interventions on quality of life in elders in the hospital: A systematic review  Applied Nursing Research. 32:217-221.

Review question

  • How effective is nurse-delivered patient education in improving quality of life among older adults who are in the hospital?


  • Elderly people who receive treatment in the hospital often experience decreases in quality of life, and suffer as they deal with declines in their physical health. As such, it is recommended that nurses plan and implement interventions that focus on improving quality of life for elderly patients in hospital settings.
  • Nurse-delivered patient education is defined as providing information, counselling and training to patients. It has often been considered as a promising intervention to improve quality of life among elderly hospital patients.
  • This review was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of nurse-delivered patient education interventions in improving the older adultsÕ quality of life while they are in hospital.

 How the review was done

  • A detailed search of three electronic databases for studies published up to December 2012 was conducted. Studies were included if they focused on education interventions delivered by nurses to hospital inpatients aged 50 or older.
  • A total of 4,653 articles were identified in searches, and four studies were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
  • The study was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science.   

What the researchers found

  • The review only identified four studies, and they demonstrated contradictory results.
  • As such, it cannot be said with confidence whether nurse-delivered patient education interventions are effective or not in improving the quality of life among elderly patients in a hospital setting. While one study did show positive results, two studies demonstrated no effect, and one study actually showed that nurse-delivered education had harmful effects.


  • Ultimately, the review found that there was inconclusive evidence supporting the implementation of nurse-delivered patient education with the goal of improving the quality of life for elderly hospital patients.

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