Prevalence of diabetes and the burden of comorbid conditions among elderly nursing home residents

Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2011 Aug;9(4):212-23. doi: 10.1016/j.amjopharm.2011.05.001. Epub 2011 Jun 11.


Background: Although the reported prevalence of diabetes in nursing home residents varies greatly among studies, there remains a common trend: increasing prevalence. Diabetes in the elderly is often associated with the presence of multiple comorbid conditions. However, limited data exist regarding the characteristics, symptom severity, disease management, and outcomes of care for residents of nursing homes with diabetes.

Objective: Our aim was to estimate the prevalence of diabetes in a national sample of skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents over a 12-month period and to examine differences in the burden of comorbidities between elderly residents with and without diabetes, including prevalence and severity of comorbidities, pharmacotherapy associated with these conditions, and cost.

Methods: This was a multicenter, observational, medical utilization evaluation study in 23 geographically representative SNFs in the United States. Comorbidities, cognition, physical activity, utilization of health services, and medications were obtained from medical chart audits, minimum data set records, and prescription claims files. Chart abstraction was performed between June 2006 and March 2007. Residents eligible for inclusion in the prevalence analysis were aged ≥65 years, did not receive hospice care, and were not in a persistent vegetative condition.

Results: A total of 2317 residents met the inclusion criteria and were included in the prevalence analysis; 761 (32.8%) had diabetes. Residents with a full minimum data set assessment within 12 months before chart abstraction (n = 2095) were included in the comorbid burden analysis. Compared with those without diabetes, a greater proportion of residents with diabetes were younger, male, Hispanic or African American, and were overweight or obese. Residents with diabetes had a greater comorbidity burden (Hierarchical Condition Category, 1.90 vs 1.58), including more prescribed medications for certain common comorbid conditions (including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin II receptor blockers [46% vs 24%], diuretics [44% vs 34%], statins [40% vs 18%], or antiplatelets/antithrombotics [43% vs 37%]), and experienced more hospitalizations (37% vs 18% at 6 months) than residents without diabetes.

Conclusion: Nearly one third of elderly SNF residents had diabetes. These patients, compared with SNF residents without diabetes, had a greater comorbid burden, were prescribed more medications to treat these conditions, and had more hospitalizations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / psychology
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Renal Insufficiency / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency / psychology
  • Retrospective Studies