Scoping review summary

The Knowledge and Implementation Hub (the Hub) team conducted a scoping review of published research literature to identify evidence on the priority topic of rehabilitation, reablement, and restorative 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 rehabilitation and reablement.

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 using an extensive range of search terms describing (1) rehabilitation, restorative care, and reablement, (2) aged care (home-based and residential), and (3) systematic reviews. We sought English-language systematic reviews [2012-May 5 2022]. 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 in receipt of aged care services and reported on issues relating to rehabilitation, reablement, and/or restorative care. The reviews 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 rehabilitation and reablement in 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

The scoping review identified 64 reviews on rehabilitation, reablement, or restorative care in the aged care context published since 2012. From these reviews, we identified 11 topics for which there is an established body of evidence. These topics have become the ‘evidence themes’ within the Hub. They include:

We have summarised each of these themes and the evidence supporting them 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. We also include suggestions for what an individual or organisation can do to improve care in relation to the specific theme. You can access the complete set of evidence themes on this topic on our Evidence themes page.

The May 2023 content update identified seven systematic reviews which contributed to updates for three evidence themes. See the Scoping review report PDF for more information.