Cognitive status and relocation stress: a test of the vulnerability hypothesis

Gerontologist. 2000 Oct;40(5):531-9. doi: 10.1093/geront/40.5.531.


Purpose: This study investigated whether cognitively impaired nursing home residents are at particular risk of experiencing harmful effects during a mass, intra-institutional, interbuilding relocation.

Design and methods: A pretest-post-test experimental-comparison group design was used. Data on cognitive status, functional capacity, psychosocial health status, physical health status, and mortality were abstracted from the Minimum Data Set Plus and were analyzed using continuous and discrete survival analyses, controlling for covariates as well as baseline status of outcome variables.

Results: None of the Relocation x Cognitive Status interaction effects were significant. Relocation main effects indicated that movers in general were more likely than nonmovers to decline in physical health status. Evidence also emerged for a positive long-term effect of moving on psychosocial health status.

Implications: These findings suggest cognitively impaired residents are not at unusual risk of harmful effects as a consequence of mass, interbuilding transfer. Given the significant relocation main effects, though, caution must be taken in moving cognitively impaired residents, as it should be in moving any residents.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged / psychology*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Survival Analysis