Mortality in older care home residents in England and Wales

Age Ageing. 2013 Mar;42(2):209-15. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afs174. Epub 2013 Jan 10.


Background: mortality in UK care homes is not well described.

Objective: to describe 1-year mortality and predictors in older care home residents compared with community residents.

Method: cohort study using the THIN primary care database with 9,772 care home and 354,306 community residents aged 65-104 years in 293 English and Welsh general practices in 2009.

Results: a total of 2,558 (26.2%) care home and 11,602 (3.3%) community residents died within 1 year. The age and sex standardised mortality ratio for nursing homes was 419 (95% CI: 396-442) and for residential homes was 284 (266-302). Age-related increases in mortality were less marked in care homes than community. Comorbidities and identification as inappropriate for chronic disease management targets predicted mortality in both settings, but associations were weaker in care homes. The number of drug classes prescribed and primary care contact were the strongest clinical predictors of mortality in care homes.

Conclusions: older care home residents experience high mortality. Age and diagnostic characteristics are weaker predictors of risk of death within care homes than the community. Measures of primary care utilisation may be useful proxies for frailty and improve difficult end of life care decisions in care homes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Cause of Death
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Polypharmacy
  • Primary Health Care
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Wales / epidemiology