Prevention of Functional Decline by Reframing the Role of Nursing Homes?

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2017 Feb 1;18(2):105-110. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2016.11.019.


Institutionalization is generally a consequence of functional decline driven by physical limitations, cognitive impairments, and/or loss of social supports. At this stage, intervention to reverse functional losses is often too late. To be more effective, geriatric medicine must evolve to intervene at an earlier stage of the disability process. Could nursing homes (NHs) transform from settings in which many residents dwell to settings in which the NH residents and those living in neighboring communities benefit from staff expertise to enhance quality of life and maintain or slow functional decline? A task force of clinical researchers met in Toulouse on December 2, 2015, to address some of these challenges: how to prevent or slow functional decline and disabilities for NH residents and how NHs may promote the prevention of functional decline in community-dwelling frail elderly. The present article reports the main results of the Task Force discussions to generate a new paradigm.

Keywords: Nursing home; frailty; functional decline; prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control*
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes*
  • United States