Volunteer Impact on Health-Related Outcomes for Seniors: a Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis

Authors

  • Ainsley Moore McMaster University
  • Shahrzad Motaghi McMaster University
  • Behnam Sadeghirad McMaster University
  • Housne Begum McMaster University
  • John J. Riva McMaster University, University of Toronto
  • Jessica Gaber McMaster University
  • Lisa Dolovich University of Toronto, McMaster University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.24.434

Keywords:

Volunteers, Geriatrics, Community

Abstract

Background

Volunteers are increasingly promoted to improve health-related outcomes for community-dwelling elderly without synthesized evidence for effectiveness. This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluates the effects of unpaid volunteer interventions on health-related outcomes for such seniors.

Methods

MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane (CENTRAL) were searched up to November 2018. We included English lan­guage, randomized trials. Two reviewers independently identi­fied studies, extracted data, and assessed evidence certainty (using GRADE). Meta-analysis used random-effects models. Univariate meta-regressions investigated the relationship between volunteer intervention effects and trial participant age, percentage females, and risk of bias.

Results

28 included studies focussed on seniors with a variety of chronic conditions (e.g., dementia, diabetes) and health states (e.g., frail, palliative). Volunteers provided a range of roles (e.g., counsel­lors, educators and coaches). Low certainty evidence found that volunteers may improve both physical function (MD = 3.2 points on the 100-point SF-36 physical component score [PCS]; 95% CI: 1.09, 5.27) and physical activity levels (SMD = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.83). Adverse events were not increased.

Conclusion

Volunteers may increase physical activity levels and subject­ive ratings of physical function for seniors without apparent harm. These findings support the WHO call to action on evidence-based policies to align health systems in support of older adults.

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Published

2021-02-18

How to Cite

1.
Moore A, Motaghi S, Sadeghirad B, Begum H, Riva JJ, Gaber J, Dolovich L. Volunteer Impact on Health-Related Outcomes for Seniors: a Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis. Can Geri J [Internet]. 2021 Feb. 18 [cited 2021 Oct. 26];24(1):44-72. Available from: https://cgjonline.ca/index.php/cgj/article/view/434

Issue

Section

Systematic Reviews/Meta-analysis