Interventions to reduce acute paediatric hospital admissions: a systematic review

Smita Dick, Clare MacRae, McFaul Claire, Wilson Philip, Turner Stephen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background. Admission rates are rising despite no change to burden of illness and interventions to reduce unscheduled admission to hospital safely may be justified. Objective. To systematically examine admission prevention strategies and report long-term follow- up of admission prevention initiatives. Data sources. MEDLINE, Embase, OVID SP, Psych INFO, Science Citation Index Expanded/ISI Web of Science, The Cochrane Library from inception to time of writing. Reference lists were hand searched. Study eligibility criteria. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and before-and-after studies. Participants. Individuals aged <16 years. Study appraisal and synthesis methods. Studies were independently screened by two reviewers with final screening by a third. Data extraction and the Critical Appraisals Skills Programme checklist completion (for risk of bias assessment) were performed by one reviewer and checked by a second. Results. Twenty-eight studies were included of whom 24 were before-and-after studies and four were studies comparing outcomes between non-randomised groups. Interventions included referral pathways, staff reconfiguration, new healthcare facilities and telemedicine. The strongest evidence for admission prevention was seen in asthma specific referral pathways (n=6) showing 34% [95%CI 28-39] reduction, but with evidence of publication bias. Other pathways showed inconsistent results or were insufficient for wider interpretation. Staffing reconfiguration showed reduced admissions in two studies, and shorter length of stay (LOS) in one. Short stay admission units reduced admissions in all studies. Conclusions and implications. There is little robust evidence to support interventions aimed at preventing paediatric admissions and further research is needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Early online date4 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Aug 2021


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