Drugs & Aging

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 423–457 | Cite as

Medications and Prescribing Patterns as Factors Associated with Hospitalizations from Long-Term Care Facilities: A Systematic Review

  • Kate N. WangEmail author
  • J. Simon Bell
  • Esa Y. H. Chen
  • Julia F. M. Gilmartin-Thomas
  • Jenni Ilomäki
Systematic Review



Residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are at high risk of hospitalization. Medications are a potentially modifiable risk factor for hospitalizations.


Our objective was to systematically review the association between medications or prescribing patterns and hospitalizations from LTCFs.


We searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA) from inception to August 2017 for longitudinal studies reporting associations between medications or prescribing patterns and hospitalizations. Two independent investigators completed the study selection, data extraction and quality assessment using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools.


Three randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 22 cohort studies, five case–control studies, one case-time-control study and one case-crossover study, investigating 13 different medication classes and two prescribing patterns were included. An RCT demonstrated that high-dose influenza vaccination reduced all-cause hospitalization compared with standard-dose vaccination (risk ratio [RR] 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.88–0.98). Another RCT found no difference in hospitalization rates between oseltamivir as influenza treatment and oseltamivir as treatment plus prophylaxis (treatment = 4.7%, treatment and prophylaxis = 3.5%; p = 0.7). The third RCT found no difference between multivitamin/mineral supplementation and hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] 0.94; 95% CI 0.74–1.20) or emergency department visits (OR 1.05; 95% CI 0.76–1.47). Two cohort studies demonstrated influenza vaccination reduced hospitalization. Four studies suggested polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) increased all-cause hospitalization. However, associations between polypharmacy (two studies), PIMs (one study) and fall-related hospitalizations were inconsistent. Inconsistent associations were found between psychotropic medications with all-cause and cause-specific hospitalizations (11 studies). Warfarin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pantoprazole and vinpocetine but not long-term acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), statins, trimetazidine, digoxin or β-blockers were associated with all-cause or cause-specific hospitalizations in single studies of specific resident populations. Most cohort studies assessed prevalent rather than incident medication exposure, and no studies considered time-varying medication use.


High-quality evidence suggests influenza vaccination reduces hospitalization. Polypharmacy and PIMs are consistently associated with increased all-cause hospitalization.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


Kate Wang is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. Esa Chen is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University. Julia Gilmartin-Thomas is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow. Jenni Ilomäki is funded through the NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. No other sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review.

Conflict of interest

Kate Wang, J. Simon Bell, Esa Chen, Julia Gilmartin-Thomas and Jenni Ilomäki have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.

Supplementary material

40266_2018_537_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Centre for Medicine Use and SafetyMonash UniversityParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership CentreHornsby Ku-ring-gai HospitalHornsbyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Research Department of Practice and PolicyUniversity College London School of PharmacyLondonUK

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