Shall I Stay or Shall I Go? The Choice to Remain in the Nursing Home Among Residents With High Potential for Discharge

J Appl Gerontol. 2020 Aug;39(8):863-870. doi: 10.1177/0733464818807818. Epub 2018 Oct 26.


Minnesota's Return to Community Initiative (RTCI) assists private-pay nursing home (NH) residents to return to the community. Using data from a 1-year admission cohort of RTCI-targeted NH residents, we examined why residents who at admission expressed a desire for discharge, were paying privately, and had relatively low-care needs chose to remain in the NH. Characteristics of those who remained were compared with those who discharged using logistic regression, and barriers to discharge were summarized. Residents who were older, more cognitively impaired (OR = 1.8), unmarried (OR = 1.4), had behavior problems (OR = 1.6), or diagnosed with dementia (OR = 2.0) were more likely to remain than discharge to the community. Between admission and their 90-day assessment, residents remaining in the facility had a small decline in cognitive status, yet their continence improved and they became more independent in activities of daily living (ADLs). Seventy-four percent reported a perception of health-related barriers to discharge.

Keywords: community; decision making; institutional care; long-term services & supports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Independent Living / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Retrospective Studies