Who lives in Scotland's care homes? Descriptive analysis using routinely collected social care data 2012-16

J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 2019 Mar;49(1):12-22. doi: 10.4997/JRCPE.2019.103.


Background: Adults living in long-term care are a significant and complex population who are under-represented in research using traditional methodologies.

Methods: The aim of this study was to provide the first description of the adult care home population and their homes, using routinely collected data. A retrospective descriptive analysis was performed using the Scottish Care Home Census (SCHC) between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2016.

Results: Data are from 1,299 care home services (79.3-89.7% completeness), including 34,399-39,311 residents per year across all regions of Scotland. A total of 68% of residents are female, with median age 84 years. 27% fund their own care. Over 85% of self-funded residents receive free personal care allowance. Around 60% require care from a registered nurse and 49% have a formal diagnosis of dementia. The majority of admissions come from hospital (46%). Between 13 and 17% of residents die annually, with a median time to death of 596-653 days.

Conclusions: This study provides the most comprehensive descriptive data of UK care home residents available. There is scope to enhance the information available through linkage to other routine sources.

Keywords: care home; long-term care; nursing home; residential home; routinely collected data; social care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scotland