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Integrated care for older people: methodological issues in conducting a systematic literature review.

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Centre for Care of Older People, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.



Systematic reviews are a useful approach for nurses to take in exploring issues important to their practice, and in this article the process of conducting a systematic literature review on integrated care for older people is described. The review was conducted as one strand of a research project aiming to inform the development of locality-based integrated care for older people in Northern Ireland, a development driven by observations of user needs.


Systematic literature review methodology is summarized and critiqued. The process of undertaking the review in this study is described with a focus on the first stage of identifying literature, and the challenges that this presents in a review which draws on multiple bodies of work.


Producing a systematic literature review in integrated care is a complex undertaking, comprising a variety of different sectors, organizations, care settings, professionals, and other users, with their own bodies of knowledge; the need for an inclusive approach; the need to search a wide range of databases; nonspecific terminology; and the inappropriateness of study design hierarchies as selection criteria.


While such a literature review might provide a basis for research and practice, the ability of the review team to call upon a wide range of skills, experience, and knowledge across the information management field and the care system is crucial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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