Background: UK care home residents are often poorly served by existing healthcare arrangements. Published descriptions of residents' health status have been limited by lack of detail and use of data derived from surveys drawn from social, rather than health, care records.
Aim: to describe in detail the health status and healthcare resource use of UK care home residents
Design and setting: a 180-day longitudinal cohort study of 227 residents across 11 UK care homes, 5 nursing and 6 residential, selected to be representative for nursing/residential status and dementia registration.
Method: Barthel index (BI), Mini-mental state examination (MMSE), Neuropsychiatric index (NPI), Mini-nutritional index (MNA), EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D), 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), diagnoses and medications were recorded at baseline and BI, NPI, GHQ-12 and EQ-5D at follow-up after 180 days. National Health Service (NHS) resource use data were collected from databases of local healthcare providers.
Results: out of a total of 323, 227 residents were recruited. The median BI was 9 (IQR: 2.5-15.5), MMSE 13 (4-22) and number of medications 8 (5.5-10.5). The mean number of diagnoses per resident was 6.2 (SD: 4). Thirty per cent were malnourished, 66% had evidence of behavioural disturbance. Residents had contact with the NHS on average once per month.
Conclusion: residents from both residential and nursing settings are dependent, cognitively impaired, have mild frequent behavioural symptoms, multimorbidity, polypharmacy and frequently use NHS resources. Effective care for such a cohort requires broad expertise from multiple disciplines delivered in a co-ordinated and managed way.
Keywords: cohort studies; health resources; health status; homes for the aged; nursing homes; older people.