Scoping review summary

The Knowledge and Implementation Hub team conducted a scoping review of published research literature to identify evidence on the priority topic of dementia care in aged care settings. We have summarised this evidence in the form of ‘evidence themes.’ Each theme describes a specific issue within the broader topic of dementia care. 

This page provides a brief overview of the scoping review process. For more detailed information, please see the PDF version of the scoping review report.

What we did

We searched six major databases for English-language systematic reviews (2011-2021) using an extensive range of search terms describing (1) dementia, (2) aged care (home-based and residential), and (3) systematic reviews. Each citation retrieved by the searches was screened by two researchers independently against a set of eligibility criteria. Eligible reviews were those that included people living with dementia (all types and levels of severity) in receipt of aged care services. They also needed to have documented their processes for reducing bias, including a comprehensive and replicable search strategy and a formal critical appraisal of their included studies.  

We also convened an Evidence Advisory Group, consisting of experts in the field of dementia within aged care. This group provided us with feedback on the scoping review methodology and preliminary results. Individual members also reviewed the final evidence themes before they were made available on the Hub website. 

Keeping evidence themes current  

The evidence themes on this topic are kept current via regular, scheduled updates. The most recent update occurred in May 2023. For this, newly published systematic reviews with relevance to the topic within aged care were identified using Google Scholar, Medline (Ovid), and CINAHL. Systematic reviews on an issue covered by an existing evidence theme were used to update that theme’s content. This might mean including new information or making changes to conclusions based on the strength or direction of the more recent evidence. If the update process revealed an important new issue, a new evidence theme would be required.  

What we found

Database searches identified a total of 1066 unique citations for screening against the inclusion criteria. Of these, 200 were systematic reviews with relevance to the topic of dementia in aged care. Within these reviews, we identified 34 distinct themes including:

We have summarised each theme and the evidence relating to the theme topic to help the aged care sector make informed decisions around care approaches or issues. Where possible, we include brief statements on the quality of the underlying evidence, what is known to be effective, and where further research is needed. You can access the complete set of evidence themes on this topic on our dementia care Evidence themes page. 

The May 2023 update identified 10 relevant systematic reviews that contributed to updates for seven evidence themes. See the Scoping review report PDF for more information.