Objectives: Nursing homes (NHs) are critical end-of-life (EOL) care settings for 70% of Americans dying with Alzheimer's disease/related dementias (ADRD). Whether EOL care/outcomes vary by NH/market characteristics for this population is unknown but essential information for improving NH EOL care/outcomes. Our objectives were to examine variations in EOL care/outcomes among decedents with ADRD and identify associations with NH/market characteristics.
Outcomes: Place-of-death (hospital/NH), presence of pressure ulcers, potentially avoidable hospitalizations (PAHs), and hospice use at EOL. Key covariates were ownership, staffing, presence of Alzheimer's units, and market competition.
Setting and participants: Long-stay NH residents with ADRD, age 65 + years of age, who died in 2017 (N = 191,435; 14,618 NHs) in NHs or hospitals shortly after NH discharge.
Methods: National Medicare claims, Minimum Data Set, public datasets. Descriptive analyses and multivariable logistic regressions.
Results: As ADRD severity increased, adjusted rates of in-hospital deaths and PAHs decreased (17.0% to 6.3%; 11.2% to 7.0%); adjusted rates of dying with pressure ulcers and hospice use increased (8.2% to 13.5%; 24.5% to 40.7%). Decedents with moderate and severe ADRD had 16% and 13% higher likelihoods of in-hospital deaths in for-profit NHs. In NHs with Alzheimer's units, likelihoods of in-hospital deaths, dying with pressure ulcers, and PAHs were significantly lower. As ADRD severity increased, higher licensed nurse staffing was associated with 14%‒27% lower likelihoods of PAHs. Increased NH market competition was associated with higher likelihood of hospice use, and lower likelihood of in-hospital deaths among decedents with moderate ADRD.
Conclusions and implications: Decedents with ADRD in NHs that were nonprofit, had Alzheimer's units, higher licensed nurse staffing, and in more competitive markets, had better EOL care/outcomes. Modifications to state Medicaid NH payments may promote better EOL care/outcomes for this population. Future research to understand NH care practices associated with presence of Alzheimer's units is warranted to identify mechanisms possibly promoting higher-quality EOL care.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease and related dementia; End-of-life care; nursing homes.
Copyright © 2020 AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.