About the RAC Search Filter

CareSearch has developed and validated a Residential Aged Care (RAC) Search Filter for use in PubMed, the free online version of Medline. The search filter is available in the RAC[HUB] section of the CareSearch website. To use the search filter, searchers need only click on a hyperlink. This launches a current search for English language RAC literature within the PubMed database.

What is a search filter?

A search filter is a search strategy for identifying the relevant information within a larger pool of relevant and irrelevant information. A search filter is more than an expert searcher’s best attempt at finding everything in an area of interest. It is an experimentally derived, tested and validated tool with a known level of performance in whichever database it was created for.

Why residential aged care (RAC) in palliative care?

Residential aged care provides care to older Australians who are unable to remain in their own homes due to disability, illness, or frailty. Increasingly it is a place where older Australians end their lives. The need for a RAC Hub as part of the CareSearch website was first discussed in 2010. Health care reform and the growing impact of Australia's ageing population as well as feedback to the CareSearch project had highlighted the needs of, and contribution made by, residential aged care in caring for residents at the end-of-life. The 2011-2014 CareSearch Agreement included the development of a residential aged care hub as a CareSearch project activity.

Why use a RAC Search Filter?

Medical, nursing and allied health clinicians providing care to patients in residential aged care facilities need ongoing, timely access to the best available research evidence to inform their practice. Finding relevant literature when needed can be difficult because of the vast amount of literature available, different ways of accessing it, lack of time to invest in the task, and a real or perceived lack of searching skills.

The RAC search filter is a tool that can improve search efficiency by providing an easy-to-use, standardised shortcut to clinically relevant literature. CareSearch has experience in the empirical development of search filters. It has previously developed the Palliative Care Search Filter for retrieving the diffuse palliative care literature [1] and the Heart Failure Search Filter for retrieving literature relevant to heart failure, a major issue for palliative care. [2]

The RAC PubMed Topic Searches

The RAC Search Filter has also been combined with 38 expert searches on topics of relevance to both residential aged care and palliative care, e.g. spiritual care at the end of life, weight loss and volunteers. These RAC PubMed Topic Searches are available as one-click hyperlinks on the CareSearch website.

Each PubMed search provides two options for the searcher: 

  • Read whole articles now (that is, retrieve only those articles available free in full text for immediate access)
  • See details of all items in databases (that is, retrieve all items matching the search criteria).

Searchers can also follow the simple instructions provided here to use the RAC Search Filter in creating their own search on a topic of interest that is not already provided in the list.  

How was the RAC Search Filter developed?

The RAC Search Filter was originally developed for the OvidSP Medline database following a strict research methodology, established in the development of previous CareSearch search filters. [1, 2] A gold standard set of representative references was created in consultation with an expert reference group. The set of references was used to develop the search filter and validate its performance in Ovid Medline. A second methodology, based on that used for translation of the Heart Failure Search Filter, was employed to translate the RAC Search Filter for Pubmed.

Use the RAC Search Filter

You can run the RAC Search Filter now for an immediate PubMed Search.

The OvidSP Medline RAC Search Filter is available to clinicians who prefer to search using this interface. This search filter can be typed into the Medline search box, exactly as shown below, and then saved for recurrent use.

Nursing homes/ or Nursing home$.ti. or Long term care.ti. or Longterm care.ti or Homes for the aged/ or Residential aged care.mp. or LTCF.mp. or Aged care facilit$.mp. or Skilled nursing facilities/
  1. Sladek R, Tieman J, Fazekas BS, Abernathy AP, Currow DC. Development of a subject search filter to find information relevant to palliative care in the general medical literature. J Med Libr Assoc. 2006 Oct:94(4):394-401.
  2. Damarell RA, Tieman J, Sladek RM, Davidson PM. Development of a heart failure filter for Medline: an objective approach using evidence-based clinical practice guidelines as an alternative to hand searching. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2011 Jan 28;11:12.
Last updated 18 January 2017