Background: The decision to place a patient with dementia in long-term care is complex and based on the patient's and the caregiver's characteristics, and on the sociocultural context. Most studies assessing predictors of nursing home placement focused primarily on the characteristics of either the patient, such as dementia severity and difficult behaviors, or the caregiver, such as subjective burden and health status. However, only a few studies comprehensively investigated how both a caregiver's and a patient's characteristics influence nursing home placement.
Objective: To identify the patient's and the caregiver's characteristics that influence discharge to a nursing home in demented patients consecutively admitted to an intermediate care setting.
Methods: Observational study of 214 patients with dementia consecutively admitted to a Rehabilitation Unit for Dementia in Northern Italy (length of stay 35.1 +/- 14.9 days). The main evaluated outcome was the final destination (home vs nursing home).
Results: In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, adjusted for age, gender, cognitive status, and behavioral disturbances, 4 predictors were associated with nursing home placement: living alone (OR 8.79, 95% CI 2.33-33.16; P = .001), degree of dementia severity (CDR, OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.02-2.83; P = .04), compromised functional status (Barthel index admission, OR 3.15, 95% CI 1.05-9.48; P = .04), and caregiver's burden (CBI, OR 2.89, 95% CI 1.15-7.29; P = .02).
Conclusions: Data suggest that living alone, patient's functional impairment, severity of dementia, and caregiver's burden were independent predictors of institutionalization. The interaction between a patient's and a caregiver's characteristics has an important effect on the rate of nursing home placement in demented patients.