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      Acute hospital admissions among nursing home residents: a population-based observational study


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          Nursing home residents are prone to acute illness due to their high age, underlying illnesses and immobility. We examined the incidence of acute hospital admissions among nursing home residents versus the age-matched community dwelling population in a geographically defined area during a two years period. The hospital stays of the nursing home population are described according to diagnosis, length of stay and mortality. Similar studies have previously not been reported in Scandinavia.


          The acute hospitalisations of the nursing home residents were identified through ambulance records. These were linked to hospital patient records for inclusion of demographics, diagnosis at discharge, length of stay and mortality. Incidence of hospitalisation was calculated based on patient-time at risk.


          The annual hospital admission incidence was 0.62 admissions per person-year among the nursing home residents and 0.26 among the community dwellers. In the nursing home population we found that dominant diagnoses were respiratory diseases, falls-related and circulatory diseases, accounting for 55% of the cases. The median length of stay was 3 days (interquartile range = 4). The in-hospital mortality rate was 16% and 30 day mortality after discharge 30%.


          Acute hospital admission rate among nursing home residents was high in this Scandinavian setting. The pattern of diagnoses causing the admissions appears to be consistent with previous research. The in-hospital and 30 day mortality rates are high.

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          Most cited references12

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          The natural history of functional morbidity in hospitalized older patients.

          This study provides data on changes in the functional status of older patients that are associated with acute hospitalization. Seventy-one patients over the age of 74 admitted to the medical service of Stanford University Hospital between February and May 1987 received functional assessments covering seven domains: mobility, transfer, toileting, incontinence, feeding, grooming, and mental status. Assessments were obtained by report from the patient's caregiver (or the patient when he or she lived alone) for 2 weeks before admission; from the patient's nurse on day 2 of hospitalization and on the day before discharge; and again from the caregiver (or patient) 1 week after discharge. The sample had a mean age of 84, covered 37 Diagnostic Related Groups, and had a median length of stay of 8 days. Between baseline and day 2, statistically significant deteriorations occurred for the overall functional score and for the individual scores for mobility, transfer, toileting, feeding, and grooming. None of these scores improved significantly by discharge. In the case of mobility, 65% of the patients experienced a decline in score between baseline and day 2. Between day 2 and discharge, 67% showed no improvement, and another 10% deteriorated further. These data suggest that older patients may experience a burden of new and worsened functional impairment during hospitalization that improves at a much slower rate than the acute illness. An awareness of delayed functional recovery should influence discharge planning for older patients. Greater efforts to prevent functional decline in the hospitalized older patient may be warranted.
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            Predictors of nursing home hospitalization: a review of the literature.

            Hospitalization of nursing home residents is costly and potentially exposes residents to iatrogenic disease and psychological harm. This article critically reviews the association between the decision to hospitalize and factors related to the residents' welfare and preferences, the providers' attitudes, and the financial implications of hospitalization. Regarding the resident's welfare, factors associated with hospitalization included sociodemographics, health characteristics, nurse staffing, the presence of ancillary services, and the use of hospices. Patient preferences (e.g., advance directives) and provider attitudes (e.g., overburdening of staff) were also associated with increased hospitalization. Finally, financial variables related to hospitalization included nursing home ownership status and state Medicaid policies, such as nursing home payment rates and bed-hold requirements. Most studies relied on potentially confounded research designs, which leave open the issue of selection bias. Nevertheless, the existing literature asserts that nursing home hospitalizations are frequent, often preventable, and related to facility practices and state Medicaid policies.
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              Effect of a clinical pathway to reduce hospitalizations in nursing home residents with pneumonia: a randomized controlled trial.

              Nursing home residents with pneumonia are frequently hospitalized. Such transfers may be associated with multiple hazards of hospitalization as well as economic costs. To assess whether using a clinical pathway for on-site treatment of pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections in nursing homes could reduce hospital admissions, related complications, and costs. A cluster randomized controlled trial of 680 residents aged 65 years or older in 22 nursing homes in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Nursing homes began enrollment between January 2, 2001, and April 18, 2002, with the last resident follow-up occurring July 4, 2005. Residents were eligible if they met a standardized definition of lower respiratory tract infection. Treatment in nursing homes according to a clinical pathway, which included use of oral antimicrobials, portable chest radiographs, oxygen saturation monitoring, rehydration, and close monitoring by a research nurse, or usual care. Hospital admissions, length of hospital stay, mortality, health-related quality of life, functional status, and cost. Thirty-four (10%) of 327 residents in the clinical pathway group were hospitalized compared with 76 (22%) of 353 residents in the usual care group. Adjusting for clustering of residents in nursing homes, the weighted mean reduction in hospitalizations was 12% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5%-18%; P = .001). The mean number of hospital days per resident was 0.79 in the clinical pathway group vs 1.74 in the usual care group, with a weighted mean difference of 0.95 days per resident (95% CI, 0.34-1.55 days; P = .004). The mortality rate was 8% (24 deaths) in the clinical pathway group vs 9% (32 deaths) in the usual care group, with a weighted mean difference of 2.9% (95% CI, -2.0% to 7.9%; P = .23). There were no significant differences between the groups in health-related quality of life or functional status. The clinical pathway resulted in an overall cost savings of US 1016 dollars per resident (95% CI, 207 dollars-1824 dollars) treated. Treating residents of nursing homes with pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections with a clinical pathway can result in comparable clinical outcomes, while reducing hospitalizations and health care costs. clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00157612.

                Author and article information

                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central
                26 May 2011
                : 11
                : 126
                [1 ]Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Bergen University College, Post box 7030, N-5020 Bergen, Norway
                [2 ]Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
                [3 ]Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway
                [4 ]Kavli's Research Centre for Ageing and Dementia, Haraldsplass Hospital, Bergen, Norway and Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
                [5 ]Løvåsen Teaching Nursing Home, Municipality of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
                Copyright ©2011 Graverholt et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Health & Social care
                patient admission,hospitalisation,nursing home,homes for the aged
                Health & Social care
                patient admission, hospitalisation, nursing home, homes for the aged


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