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.