Ageing International

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

A Critical Review of Research on Hospitalization from Nursing Homes; What is Missing?

  • Gudmund ÅgotnesEmail author
  • Frode Fadnes Jacobsen
  • Charlene Harrington
  • Karin Anna Petersen


In this paper we seek to summarize research literature on hospitalization from nursing homes, to identify shared themes, findings and approaches, and to analyze strengths and weaknesses of the literature. The main aim of the article is to critically review current research on the topic of hospitalization from nursing homes, based on a variety of original research articles and literature overviews. First, we examine why studies of hospitalization from nursing homes are considered to be important in the literature, focusing on what is described as large variation in rates of hospitalization between institutions and geographical areas as well as the occurrence of unwanted and avoidable hospitalizations. Second, we present studies on reasons for rates of hospitalizations of nursing home patients based on patient characteristics. Third, we present studies that have focused on institutional characteristics that may explain rates of hospitalizations. Fourth, we examine factors and conditions highlighted in parts of the literature on hospitalization, more closely than others connected to practice and decision making. Finally, we discuss some of the weaknesses of these hospitalization studies and suggest areas for future research studies.


Nursing home Hospitalization Practice Institution Review 



This paper was supported by a grant from the Centre for Care Research, Bergen University College.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

As there is no person or personal data appearing in the paper, there is no one from whom a permission should be obtained in order to publish personal data.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gudmund Ågotnes
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Frode Fadnes Jacobsen
    • 1
    • 4
  • Charlene Harrington
    • 3
  • Karin Anna Petersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Care ResearchBergen University CollegeBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Global Public Health and Primary CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.School of NursingUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Betanien University CollegeBergenNorway

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