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1.  Utilization and costs of home-based and community-based care within a social HMO: trends over an 18-year period 
Abstract
Purpose
Our objective was to describe the utilization and costs of services from 1985 to 2002 of a Social Health Maintenance Organization (SHMO) demonstration project providing a benefit for home-based and community-based as well as short-term institutional (HCB) care at Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW), serving the Portland, Oregon area. The HCB care benefit was offered by KPNW as a supplement to Medicare's acute care medical benefits, which KPNW provides in an HMO model. KPNW receives a monthly per capita payment from Medicare to provide medical benefits, and Medicare beneficiaries who choose to join pay a supplemental premium that covers prescription drugs, HCB care benefits, and other services. A HCB care benefit of up to $12,000 per year in services was available to SHMO members meeting requirement for nursing home certification (NHC).
Methods
We used aggregate data to track temporal changes in the period 1985 to 2002 on member eligibility, enrollment in HCB care plans, age, service utilization and co-payments. Trends in the overall costs and financing of the HCB care benefit were extracted from quarterly reports, management data, and finance data.
Results
During the time period, 14,815 members enrolled in the SHMO and membership averaged 4,531. The proportion of SHMO members aged 85 or older grew from 12 to 25%; proportion meeting requirements for NHC rose from 4 to 27%; and proportion with HCB care plans rose from 4 to 18%. Costs for the HCB care benefit rose from $21 per SHMO member per month in 1985 to $95 in 2002. The HCB care costs were equivalent to 12% to 16% of Medicare reimbursement. The HCB program costs were covered by member premiums (which rose from $49 to $180) and co-payments from members with care plans. Over the 18-year period, spending shifted from nursing homes to a range of community services, e.g. personal care, homemaking, member reimbursement, lifeline, equipment, transportation, shift care, home nursing, adult day care, respite care, and dentures. Rising costs per month per SHMO member reflected increasing HCB eligibility rather than costs per member with HCB care, which actually fell from $6,164 in 1989 to $4,328 in 2002. Care management accounted for about one-quarter of community care costs since 1992.
Conclusions
The Kaiser Permanente Northwest SHMO served an increasingly aged and disabled membership by reducing costs per HCB member care plan and shifting utilization to a broad range of community care services. Supported by a disability-based Medicare payment formula and by SHMO beneficiaries willing to pay increasing premiums, KPNW has been able to offer comprehensive community care. The model could be replicated by other HMOs with the support of favorable federal policies.
PMCID: PMC1395522  PMID: 16773166
integration; home care; managed care; care management; long-term care financing; community care
2.  Risk of Nursing Home Admission Among Older Americans: Does States' Spending on Home- and Community-Based Services Matter? 
Objectives
States vary greatly in their support for home- and community-based services (HCBS) that are intended to help disabled seniors live in the community. This article examines how states' generosity in providing HCBS affects the risk of nursing home admission among older Americans and how family availability moderates such effects.
Methods
We conducted discrete time survival analysis of first long-term (90 or more days) nursing home admissions that occurred between 1995 and 2002, using Health and Retirement Study panel data from respondents born in 1923 or earlier.
Results
State HCBS effects were conditional on child availability among older Americans. Living in a state with higher HCBS expenditures was associated with lower risk of nursing home admission among childless seniors (p < .001). However, the association was not statistically significant among seniors with living children. Doubling state HCBS expenditures per person aged 65 or older would reduce the risk of nursing home admission among childless seniors by 35%.
Discussion
Results provided modest but important evidence supportive of increasing state investment in HCBS. Within-state allocation of HCBS resources, however, requires further research and careful consideration about fairness for individual seniors and their families as well as cost effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC2093949  PMID: 17507592
3.  Integrated working between residential care homes and primary care: a survey of care homes in England 
BMC Geriatrics  2012;12:71.
Background
Older people living in care homes in England have complex health needs due to a range of medical conditions, mental health needs and frailty. Despite an increasing policy expectation that professionals should operate in an integrated way across organisational boundaries, there is a lack of understanding between care homes and the National Health Service (NHS) about how the two sectors should work together, meaning that residents can experience a poor "fit" between their needs, and services they can access. This paper describes a survey to establish the current extent of integrated working that exists between care homes and primary and community health and social services.
Methods
A self-completion, online questionnaire was designed by the research team. Items on the different dimensions of integration (funding, administrative, organisational, service delivery, clinical care) were included. The survey was sent to a random sample of residential care homes with more than 25 beds (n = 621) in England in 2009. Responses were analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods.
Results
The survey achieved an overall response rate of 15.8%. Most care homes (78.7%) worked with more than one general practice. Respondents indicated that a mean of 14.1 professionals/ services (other than GPs) had visited the care homes in the last six months (SD 5.11, median 14); a mean of .39 (SD.163) professionals/services per bed. The most frequent services visiting were district nursing, chiropody and community psychiatric nurses. Many (60%) managers considered that they worked with the NHS in an integrated way, including sharing documents, engaging in integrated care planning and joint learning and training. However, some care home managers cited working practices dictated by NHS methods of service delivery and priorities for care, rather than those of the care home or residents, a lack of willingness by NHS professionals to share information, and low levels of respect for the experience and knowledge of care home staff.
Conclusions
Care homes are a hub for a wide range of NHS activity, but this is ad hoc with no recognised way to support working together. Integration between care homes and local health services is only really evident at the level of individual working relationships and reflects patterns of collaborative working rather than integration. More integrated working between care homes and primary health services has the potential to improve quality of care in a cost- effective manner, but strategic decisions to create more formal arrangements are required to bring this about. Commissioners of services for older people need to capitalise on good working relationships and address idiosyncratic patterns of provision to care homes.The low response rate is indicative of the difficulty of undertaking research in care homes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-71
PMCID: PMC3534387  PMID: 23151009
4.  A survey of access to medical services in nursing and residential homes in England. 
BACKGROUND: Residential and nursing homes make major demands on NHS services. AIM: To investigate patterns of access to medical services for residents in homes for older people. DESIGN OF STUDY: Telephone survey. SETTING: All nursing and dual registered homes and one in four residential homes located in a stratified random sample of 72 English primary care group/trust (PCG/T) areas. METHOD: A structured questionnaire investigating home characteristics, numbers of general practitioners (GPs) or practices per home, homes' policies for registering new residents with GPs, existence of payments to GPs, GP services provided to homes, and access to specialist medical care. RESULTS: There were wide variations in the numbers of GPs providing services to individual homes; this was not entirely dependent on home size. Eight percent of homes paid local GPs for their services to residents; these were more likely to be nursing homes (33%) than residential homes (odds ratio [OR] = 10.82, [95% CI = 4.48 to 26.13], P<0.001) and larger homes (OR for a ten-bed increase = 1.51 [95% CI = 1.28 to 1.79], P<0.001). Larger homes were more likely to encourage residents to register with a 'home' GP (OR for a ten-bed increase = 1.16 [95% CI = 1.04 to 1.31], P = 0.009). Homes paying local GPs were more likely to receive one or more additional services, over and above GPs' core contractual obligations. Few homes had direct access to specialist clinicians. CONCLUSION: Extensive variations in homes' policies and local GP services raise serious questions about patient choice, levels of GP services and, above all, about equity between residents within homes, between homes and between those in homes and in the community.
PMCID: PMC1314355  PMID: 12120725
5.  Medicare Post-Hospitalization Skilled Nursing Benefit in the Last Six Months of Life 
Archives of internal medicine  2012;172(20):1573-1579.
Background
In the last 6 months of life many older adults will experience a hospitalization followed by a transfer to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for additional care. We sought to examine patterns of SNF use in the last 6 months of life.
Methods
We used the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey of older adults, linked to Medicare claims (1994-2007). We determined the number of individuals age 65 and older at death who used the SNF benefit in the last 6 months of life. We report demographic, social, and clinical correlates of SNF use. We examined the relationship between place of death and hospice use for those living in nursing homes and community prior to the last 6 months of life.
Results
The mean age at death of the 5,163 subjects was 83 (54% female; 23% nursing home residents). We found 30.5% used the SNF benefit in the last 6 months of life, and 9.2% died enrolled on the SNF benefit. Use of the SNF benefit was greater among patients who were: 85 and older, had a high school education, did not have cancer, were nursing home residents, used home health services, and were expected to die (all p<0.01). Of community dwellers who used the SNF benefit 42.5% died in a nursing home, 10.7% died at home, 38.8% died in the hospital, and 8% died elsewhere. In contrast, of community dwellers that did not use the SNF benefit 5.3% died in a nursing home, 40.6% died at home, 44.3% died in the hospital, and 9.8% died elsewhere.
Conclusion
Nearly one-third of older adults receive care in a SNF in the last 6 months of life under the Medicare SNF benefit, and 1 out of 11 elders will die on the SNF benefit. Palliative care services should be incorporated into SNF-level care.
doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.4451
PMCID: PMC3732164  PMID: 23026981
6.  Place of Death Among Older Americans 
Medical care  2008;46(8):829-838.
Background
The majority of Americans die in institutions although most prefer to die at home. States vary greatly in their proportion of home deaths. Although individuals’ circumstances largely determine where they die, health policies may affect the range of options available to them.
Objective
To examine whether states’ spending on home- and community-based services (HCBS) affects place of death, taking into consideration county health care resources and individuals’ family, sociodemographic, and health factors.
Methods
Using exit interview data from respondents in the Health and Retirement Study born in 1923 or earlier who died between 1993 and 2002 (N = 3362), we conducted discrete-time survival analysis of the risk of end-of-life nursing home relocation to examine whether states’ HCBS spending would delay or prevent end-of-life nursing home admission. Then we ran logistic regression analysis to investigate the HCBS effects on place of death separately for those who relocated to a nursing home and those who remained in the community.
Results
Living in a state with higher HCBS spending was associated with lower risk of end-of-life nursing home relocation, especially among people who had Medicaid. However, state HCBS support was not directly associated with place of death.
Conclusions
States’ generosity for HCBS increases the chance of dying at home via lowering the risk of end-of-life nursing home relocation. State-to-state variation in HCBS spending may partly explain variation in home deaths. Our findings add to the emerging encouraging evidence for continued efforts to enhance support for HCBS.
doi:10.1097/MLR.0b013e3181791a79
PMCID: PMC2708119  PMID: 18665063
long-term care; elderly; state policy; nursing home admission; end-of-life
7.  Volume of Home- and Community-Based Services and Time to Nursing-Home Placement 
Medicare & Medicaid Research Review  2012;2(3):mmrr.002.03.a03.
Objective
The purpose of this study was to determine whether the volume of Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) that target Activities of Daily Living disabilities, such as attendant care, homemaking services, and home-delivered meals, increases recipients' risk of transitioning from long-term care provided through HCBS to long-term care provided in a nursing home.
Data Sources
Data are from the Indiana Medicaid enrollment, claims, and Insite databases. Insite is the software system that was developed for collecting and reporting data for In-Home Service Programs.
Study Design
Enrollees in Indiana Medicaid's Aged and Disabled Waiver program were followed forward from time of enrollment to assess the association between the volume of attendant care, homemaking services, home-delivered meals, and related covariates, and the risk for nursing-home placement. An extension of the Cox proportional hazard model was computed to determine the cumulative hazard of nursing-home placement in the presence of death as a competing risk.
Principal Findings
Of the 1354 Medicaid HCBS recipients followed in this study, 17% did not receive any attendant care, homemaking services, or home-delivered meals. Among recipients who survived through 24 months after enrollment, one in five transitioned from HCBS to a nursing-home. Risk for nursing-home placement was significantly lower for each five-hour increment in personal care (HR=0.95, 95% CI=0.92-0.98) and homemaking services (HR=0.87, 95% CI=0.77–0.99).
Conclusions
Future policies and practices that are focused on optimizing long-term care outcomes should consider that a greater volume of HCBS for an individual is associated with reduced risk of nursing-home placement.
doi:10.5600/mmrr.002.03.a03
PMCID: PMC4006382  PMID: 24800146
Medicaid; Home and Community Based Care; Aged and Disabled; Waivers; Nursing Home
8.  Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
This report features the evidence-based analysis on caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia and is broken down into 4 sections:
Introduction
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Economic Analysis of Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia living in the community.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible syndrome that is characterized by a loss of cognitive function severe enough to impact social or occupational functioning. The components of cognitive function affected include memory and learning, attention, concentration and orientation, problem-solving, calculation, language, and geographic orientation. Dementia was identified as one of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home, in that approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with dementia will be institutionalized before death. In addition, cognitive decline linked to dementia is one of the most commonly cited reasons for institutionalization.
Prevalence estimates of dementia in the Ontario population have largely been extrapolated from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging conducted in 1991. Based on these estimates, it is projected that there will be approximately 165,000 dementia cases in Ontario in the year 2008, and by 2010 the number of cases will increase by nearly 17% over 2005 levels. By 2020 the number of cases is expected to increase by nearly 55%, due to a rise in the number of people in the age categories with the highest prevalence (85+). With the increase in the aging population, dementia will continue to have a significant economic impact on the Canadian health care system. In 1991, the total costs associated with dementia in Canada were $3.9 billion (Cdn) with $2.18 billion coming from LTC.
Caregivers play a crucial role in the management of individuals with dementia because of the high level of dependency and morbidity associated with the condition. It has been documented that a greater demand is faced by dementia caregivers compared with caregivers of persons with other chronic diseases. The increased burden of caregiving contributes to a host of chronic health problems seen among many informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Much of this burden results from managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which have been established as a predictor of institutionalization for elderly patients with dementia.
It is recognized that for some patients with dementia, an LTC facility can provide the most appropriate care; however, many patients move into LTC unnecessarily. For individuals with dementia to remain in the community longer, caregivers require many types of formal and informal support services to alleviate the stress of caregiving. These include both respite care and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions such as psychoeducational interventions, counseling, supportive therapy, and behavioural interventions.
Assuming that 50% of persons with dementia live in the community, a conservative estimate of the number of informal caregivers in Ontario is 82,500. Accounting for the fact that 29% of people with dementia live alone, this leaves a remaining estimate of 58,575 Ontarians providing care for a person with dementia with whom they reside.
Description of Interventions
The 2 main categories of caregiver-directed interventions examined in this review are respite care and psychosocial interventions. Respite care is defined as a break or relief for the caregiver. In most cases, respite is provided in the home, through day programs, or at institutions (usually 30 days or less). Depending on a caregiver’s needs, respite services will vary in delivery and duration. Respite care is carried out by a variety of individuals, including paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends.
Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions and have been classified in various ways in the literature. This review will examine educational, behavioural, dementia-specific, supportive, and coping interventions. The analysis focuses on behavioural interventions, that is, those designed to help the caregiver manage BPSD. As described earlier, BPSD are one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia, causing an increase in caregiver burden. The analysis also examines multicomponent interventions, which include at least 2 of the above-mentioned interventions.
Methods of Evidence-Based Analysis
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of interventions for caregivers of dementia patients.
Questions
Section 2.1
Are respite care services effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Do respite care services impact on rates of institutionalization of these seniors?
Section 2.2
Which psychosocial interventions are effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Which interventions reduce the risk for institutionalization of seniors with dementia?
Outcomes of Interest
any quantitative measure of caregiver psychological health, including caregiver burden, depression, quality of life, well-being, strain, mastery (taking control of one’s situation), reactivity to behaviour problems, etc.;
rate of institutionalization; and
cost-effectiveness.
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Conclusions in Table 1 are drawn from Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the report.
Summary of Conclusions on Caregiver-Directed Interventions
There is limited evidence from RCTs that respite care is effective in improving outcomes for those caring for seniors with dementia.
There is considerable qualitative evidence of the perceived benefits of respite care.
Respite care is known as one of the key formal support services for alleviating caregiver burden in those caring for dementia patients.
Respite care services need to be tailored to individual caregiver needs as there are vast differences among caregivers and patients with dementia (severity, type of dementia, amount of informal/formal support available, housing situation, etc.)
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that individual behavioural interventions (≥ 6 sessions), directed towards the caregiver (or combined with the patient) are effective in improving psychological health in dementia caregivers.
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions improve caregiver psychosocial health and may affect rates of institutionalization of dementia patients.
RCT indicates randomized controlled trial.
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
The section on patient-directed interventions for dementia is broken down into 4 subsections with the following questions:
3.1 Physical Exercise for Seniors with Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability, in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.2 Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Seniors With Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.3 Physical Exercise for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
3.4 Cognitive Interventions for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, deterioration in the performance of basic ADLs or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),1 or incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Secondary Prevention2
Exercise
Physical deterioration is linked to dementia. This is thought to be due to reduced muscle mass leading to decreased activity levels and muscle atrophy, increasing the potential for unsafe mobility while performing basic ADLs such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability.
Improved physical conditioning for seniors with dementia may extend their independent mobility and maintain performance of ADL.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Cognitive impairments, including memory problems, are a defining feature of dementia. These impairments can lead to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from activities. The impact of these cognitive problems on daily activities increases pressure on caregivers.
Cognitive interventions aim to improve these impairments in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Primary Prevention3
Exercise
Various vascular risk factors have been found to contribute to the development of dementia (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, overweight).
Physical exercise is important in promoting overall and vascular health. However, it is unclear whether physical exercise can decrease the risk of cognitive decline/dementia.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Having more years of education (i.e., a higher cognitive reserve) is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in crossectional population-based studies and a lower incidence of dementia in cohorts followed longitudinally. However, it is unclear whether cognitive training can increase cognitive reserve or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs or reduce the incidence of dementia.
Description of Interventions
Physical exercise and nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions (e.g., cognitive training) for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia are assessed in this review.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and RCTs that examined the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of exercise and cognitive interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia.
Questions
Section 3.1: What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of ADLs in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.2: What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.3: Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
Section 3.4: Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs, or reduce the incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Table 2 summarizes the conclusions from Sections 3.1 through 3.4.
Summary of Conclusions on Patient-Directed Interventions*
Previous systematic review indicated that “cognitive training” is not effective in patients with dementia.
A recent RCT suggests that CST (up to 7 weeks) is effective for improving cognitive function and quality of life in patients with dementia.
Regular leisure time physical activity in midlife is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in later life (mean follow-up 21 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline (mean follow-up 2 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of dementia (mean follow-up 6–7 years).
Evidence that cognitive training for specific functions (memory, reasoning, and speed of processing) produces improvements in these specific domains.
Limited inconclusive evidence that cognitive training can offset deterioration in the performance of self-reported IADL scores and performance assessments.
1° indicates primary; 2°, secondary; CST, cognitive stimulation therapy; IADL, instrumental activities of daily living; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Benefit/Risk Analysis
As per the GRADE Working Group, the overall recommendations consider 4 main factors:
the trade-offs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
the quality of the evidence;
translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 reflects the overall trade-off between benefits and harms (adverse events) and incorporates any risk/uncertainty (cost-effectiveness).
Overall Summary Statement of the Benefit and Risk for Patient-Directed Interventions*
Economic Analysis
Budget Impact Analysis of Effective Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-directed behavioural techniques and patient-directed exercise programs were found to be effective when assessing mild to moderate dementia outcomes in seniors living in the community. Therefore, an annual budget impact was calculated based on eligible seniors in the community with mild and moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who were willing to participate in interventional home sessions. Table 4 describes the annual budget impact for these interventions.
Annual Budget Impact (2008 Canadian Dollars)
Assumed 7% prevalence of dementia aged 65+ in Ontario.
Assumed 8 weekly sessions plus 4 monthly phone calls.
Assumed 12 weekly sessions plus biweekly sessions thereafter (total of 20).
Assumed 2 sessions per week for first 5 weeks. Assumed 90% of seniors in the community with dementia have mild to moderate disease. Assumed 4.5% of seniors 65+ are in long-term care, and the remainder are in the community. Assumed a rate of participation of 60% for both patients and caregivers and of 41% for patient-directed exercise. Assumed 100% compliance since intervention administered at the home. Cost for trained staff from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care data source. Assumed cost of personal support worker to be equivalent to in-home support. Cost for recreation therapist from Alberta government Website.
Note: This budget impact analysis was calculated for the first year after introducing the interventions from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care perspective using prevalence data only. Prevalence estimates are for seniors in the community with mild to moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who are willing to participate in an interventional session administered at the home setting. Incidence and mortality rates were not factored in. Current expenditures in the province are unknown and therefore were not included in the analysis. Numbers may change based on population trends, rate of intervention uptake, trends in current programs in place in the province, and assumptions on costs. The number of patients was based on patients likely to access these interventions in Ontario based on assumptions stated below from the literature. An expert panel confirmed resource consumption.
PMCID: PMC3377513  PMID: 23074509
9.  Residential services in Europe – findings from the DECLOC study 
Background and aims
This study aimed to collate and summarise statistical information on the number of people with disabilities living in all types of residential care but with a particular focus on those living in institutional care within 28 countries in Europe to analyse the costs and outcomes of the transition to community-based services in order to provide recommendations for agents in these countries to help bring about the change. The rationale for the study was to inform the political debate, to provide evidence and recommendations to support the move to community-based living for people with disabilities. The study aimed to collect data across client groups (intellectual disability, physical and sensory disability and mental illness) and across different age groups (children, adults and older adults).
Description of project
There were two phases to this study—the first provided a description of service types in each country and collated existing official statistics on the number of people with disabilities in the different types of residential services; the second phase analysed the existing body of knowledge on costs and outcomes of institutional and community-based services to provide conclusions and recommendations.
Conclusions
More than 1.45 million people with disabilities in Europe still live in residential care with 70% of these living in services with over 30 places. Data was better on people with intellectual disabilities than for other user groups but figures collated are none-the-less an underestimation. Drawing together such a mass of information served to highlight the extent of the work still needed to achieve the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in almost all the countries included in terms of community-based services for all. It also highlighted the gaps in the available data. Challenges in the task of collating information included the lack of information collated at national level, the issue of varying definitions in use and inconsistency in how and where data was available.
Discussion
Most countries in Europe still have some way to go to be able to meet Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Recommendations focuses are offered to help bridge the gaps in data available on the situation of people with disabilities.
PMCID: PMC2707526
disabilities; residential care; institutions
10.  Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
Objective
To assess the effectiveness of behavioural interventions for the treatment and management of urinary incontinence (UI) in community-dwelling seniors.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Urinary incontinence defined as “the complaint of any involuntary leakage of urine” was identified as 1 of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home. Urinary incontinence is a health problem that affects a substantial proportion of Ontario’s community-dwelling seniors (and indirectly affects caregivers), impacting their health, functioning, well-being and quality of life. Based on Canadian studies, prevalence estimates range from 9% to 30% for senior men and nearly double from 19% to 55% for senior women. The direct and indirect costs associated with UI are substantial. It is estimated that the total annual costs in Canada are $1.5 billion (Cdn), and that each year a senior living at home will spend $1,000 to $1,500 on incontinence supplies.
Interventions to treat and manage UI can be classified into broad categories which include lifestyle modification, behavioural techniques, medications, devices (e.g., continence pessaries), surgical interventions and adjunctive measures (e.g., absorbent products).
The focus of this review is behavioural interventions, since they are commonly the first line of treatment considered in seniors given that they are the least invasive options with no reported side effects, do not limit future treatment options, and can be applied in combination with other therapies. In addition, many seniors would not be ideal candidates for other types of interventions involving more risk, such as surgical measures.
Note: It is recognized that the terms “senior” and “elderly” carry a range of meanings for different audiences; this report generally uses the former, but the terms are treated here as essentially interchangeable.
Description of Technology/Therapy
Behavioural interventions can be divided into 2 categories according to the target population: caregiver-dependent techniques and patient-directed techniques. Caregiver-dependent techniques (also known as toileting assistance) are targeted at medically complex, frail individuals living at home with the assistance of a caregiver, who tends to be a family member. These seniors may also have cognitive deficits and/or motor deficits. A health care professional trains the senior’s caregiver to deliver an intervention such as prompted voiding, habit retraining, or timed voiding. The health care professional who trains the caregiver is commonly a nurse or a nurse with advanced training in the management of UI, such as a nurse continence advisor (NCA) or a clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
The second category of behavioural interventions consists of patient-directed techniques targeted towards mobile, motivated seniors. Seniors in this population are cognitively able, free from any major physical deficits, and motivated to regain and/or improve their continence. A nurse or a nurse with advanced training in UI management, such as an NCA or CNS, delivers the patient-directed techniques. These are often provided as multicomponent interventions including a combination of bladder training techniques, pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), education on bladder control strategies, and self-monitoring. Pelvic floor muscle training, defined as a program of repeated pelvic floor muscle contractions taught and supervised by a health care professional, may be employed as part of a multicomponent intervention or in isolation.
Education is a large component of both caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions, and patient and/or caregiver involvement as well as continued practice strongly affect the success of treatment. Incontinence products, which include a large variety of pads and devices for effective containment of urine, may be used in conjunction with behavioural techniques at any point in the patient’s management.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials that examined the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions for the treatment of UI in community-dwelling seniors (see Appendix 1).
Research Questions
Are caregiver-dependent behavioural interventions effective in improving UI in medically complex, frail community-dwelling seniors with/without cognitive deficits and/or motor deficits?
Are patient-directed behavioural interventions effective in improving UI in mobile, motivated community-dwelling seniors?
Are behavioural interventions delivered by NCAs or CNSs in a clinic setting effective in improving incontinence outcomes in community-dwelling seniors?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Executive Summary Table 1 summarizes the results of the analysis.
The available evidence was limited by considerable variation in study populations and in the type and severity of UI for studies examining both caregiver-directed and patient-directed interventions. The UI literature frequently is limited to reporting subjective outcome measures such as patient observations and symptoms. The primary outcome of interest, admission to a LTC home, was not reported in the UI literature. The number of eligible studies was low, and there were limited data on long-term follow-up.
Summary of Evidence on Behavioural Interventions for the Treatment of Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors
Prompted voiding
Habit retraining
Timed voiding
Bladder training
PFMT (with or without biofeedback)
Bladder control strategies
Education
Self-monitoring
CI refers to confidence interval; CNS, clinical nurse specialist; NCA, nurse continence advisor; PFMT, pelvic floor muscle training; RCT, randomized controlled trial; WMD, weighted mean difference; UI, urinary incontinence.
Economic Analysis
A budget impact analysis was conducted to forecast costs for caregiver-dependent and patient-directed multicomponent behavioural techniques delivered by NCAs, and PFMT alone delivered by physiotherapists. All costs are reported in 2008 Canadian dollars. Based on epidemiological data, published medical literature and clinical expert opinion, the annual cost of caregiver-dependent behavioural techniques was estimated to be $9.2 M, while the annual costs of patient-directed behavioural techniques delivered by either an NCA or physiotherapist were estimated to be $25.5 M and $36.1 M, respectively. Estimates will vary if the underlying assumptions are changed.
Currently, the province of Ontario absorbs the cost of NCAs (available through the 42 Community Care Access Centres across the province) in the home setting. The 2007 Incontinence Care in the Community Report estimated that the total cost being absorbed by the public system of providing continence care in the home is $19.5 M in Ontario. This cost estimate included resources such as personnel, communication with physicians, record keeping and product costs. Clinic costs were not included in this estimation because currently these come out of the global budget of the respective hospital and very few continence clinics actually exist in the province. The budget impact analysis factored in a cost for the clinic setting, assuming that the public system would absorb the cost with this new model of community care.
Considerations for Ontario Health System
An expert panel on aging in the community met on 3 occasions from January to May 2008, and in part, discussed treatment of UI in seniors in Ontario with a focus on caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions. In particular, the panel discussed how treatment for UI is made available to seniors in Ontario and who provides the service. Some of the major themes arising from the discussions included:
Services/interventions that currently exist in Ontario offering behavioural interventions to treat UI are not consistent. There is a lack of consistency in how seniors access services for treatment of UI, who manages patients and what treatment patients receive.
Help-seeking behaviours are important to consider when designing optimal service delivery methods.
There is considerable social stigma associated with UI and therefore there is a need for public education and an awareness campaign.
The cost of incontinent supplies and the availability of NCAs were highlighted.
Conclusions
There is moderate-quality evidence that the following interventions are effective in improving UI in mobile motivated seniors:
Multicomponent behavioural interventions including a combination of bladder training techniques, PFMT (with or without biofeedback), education on bladder control strategies and self-monitoring techniques.
Pelvic floor muscle training alone.
There is moderate quality evidence that when behavioural interventions are led by NCAs or CNSs in a clinic setting, they are effective in improving UI in seniors.
There is limited low-quality evidence that prompted voiding may be effective in medically complex, frail seniors with motivated caregivers.
There is insufficient evidence for the following interventions in medically complex, frail seniors with motivated caregivers:
habit retraining, and
timed voiding.
PMCID: PMC3377527  PMID: 23074508
11.  Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
Objective of the Evidence-Based Analysis
The objective was to systematically review interventions aimed at preventing or reducing social isolation and loneliness in community-dwelling seniors, that is, persons ≥ 65 years of age who are not living in long-term care institutions. The analyses focused on the following questions:
Are interventions to reduce social isolation and/or loneliness effective?
Do these interventions improve health, well-being, and/or quality of life?
Do these interventions impact on independent community living by delaying or preventing functional decline or disability?
Do the interventions impact on health care utilization, such as physician visits, emergency visits, hospitalization, or admission to long-term care?
Background: Target Population and Condition
Social and family relationships are a core element of quality of life for seniors, and these relationships have been ranked second, next to health, as the most important area of life. Several related concepts—reduced social contact, being alone, isolation, and feelings of loneliness—have all been associated with a reduced quality of life in older people. Social isolation and loneliness have also been associated with a number of negative outcomes such as poor health, maladaptive behaviour, and depressed mood. Higher levels of loneliness have also been associated with increased likelihood of institutionalization.
Note: It is recognized that the terms “senior” and “elderly” carry a range of meanings for different audiences; this report generally uses the former, but the terms are treated here as essentially interchangeable.
Methods of the Evidence-Based Analysis
The scientific evidence base was evaluated through a systematic literature review. The literature searches were conducted with several computerized bibliographic databases for literature published between January 1980 and February 2008. The search was restricted to English-language reports on human studies and excluded letters, comments and editorials, and case reports. Journal articles eligible for inclusion in the review included those that reported on single, focused interventions directed towards or evaluating social isolation or loneliness; included, in whole or in part, community-dwelling seniors (≥ 65 years); included some quantitative outcome measure on social isolation or loneliness; and included a comparative group. Assessments of current practices were obtained through consultations with various individuals and agencies including the Ontario Community Care Access Centres and the Ontario Assistive Devices Program. An Ontario-based budget impact was also assessed for the identified effective interventions for social isolation.
Findings
A systematic review of the published literature focusing on interventions for social isolation and loneliness in community-dwelling seniors identified 11 quantitative studies. The studies involved European or American populations with diverse recruitment strategies, intervention objectives, and limited follow-up, with cohorts from 10 to 15 years ago involving mainly elderly women less than 75 years of age. The studies involved 2 classes of interventions: in-person group support activities and technology-assisted interventions. These were delivered to diverse targeted groups of seniors such as those with mental distress, physically inactive seniors, low-income groups, and informal caregivers. The interventions were primarily focused on behaviour-based change. Modifying factors (client attitude or preference) and process issues (targeting methods of at-risk subjects, delivery methods, and settings) influenced intervention participation and outcomes.
Both classes of interventions were found to reduce social isolation and loneliness in seniors. Social support groups were found to effectively decrease social isolation for seniors on wait lists for senior apartments and those living in senior citizen apartments. Community-based exercise programs featuring health and wellness for physically inactive community-dwelling seniors also effectively reduced loneliness. Rehabilitation for mild/moderate hearing loss was effective in improving communication disabilities and reducing loneliness in seniors. Interventions evaluated for informal caregivers of seniors with dementia, however, had limited effectiveness for social isolation or loneliness.
Research into interventions for social isolation in seniors has not been broadly based, relative to the diverse personal, social, health, economic, and environmentally interrelated factors potentially affecting isolation. Although rehabilitation for hearing-related disability was evaluated, the systematic review did not locate research on interventions for other common causes of aging-related disability and loneliness, such as vision loss or mobility declines. Despite recent technological advances in e-health or telehealth, controlled studies evaluating technology-assisted interventions for social isolation have examined only basic technologies such as phone- or computer-mediated support groups.
Conclusions
Although effective interventions were identified for social isolation and loneliness in community-dwelling seniors, they were directed at specifically targeted groups and involved only a few of the many potential causes of social isolation. Little research has been directed at identifying effective interventions that influence the social isolation and other burdens imposed upon caregivers, in spite of the key role that caregivers assume in caring for seniors. The evidence on technology-assisted interventions and their effects on the social health and well-being of seniors and their caregivers is limited, but increasing demand for home health care and the need for efficiencies warrant further exploration. Interventions for social isolation in community-dwelling seniors need to be researched more broadly in order to develop effective, appropriate, and comprehensive strategies for at-risk populations.
PMCID: PMC3377559  PMID: 23074510
12.  Feeling in control: comparing older people's experiences in different care settings 
Ageing and Society  2013;34(8):1427-1451.
The promotion of choice and control for older people is a policy priority for social care services in the United Kingdom and is at the heart of recent drives to personalise services. Increasingly, we are seeing a move away from institutionalised care (e.g. in care homes) towards enablement, with more services being delivered in community-based settings. Extra care housing has been promoted as a purpose-built, community-based alternative to residential care for older people. However, whilst accounts of users' experiences in particular service types are plentiful, the use of different instrumentation and measures makes comparison between settings difficult. We combined data from four studies where participants were older people either living in care homes or extra care housing or receiving care at home. All of these studies asked participants to rate their control over daily life, using the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT). This paper presents the results of an ordinal logistic regression analysis indicating that, after controlling for differences in age, ability to perform activities of daily living and self-rated health, setting had a significant effect on older people's sense of control. Residents in care homes and extra care housing report similar levels of control over daily life but consistently report feeling more in control than older people receiving care at home. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
doi:10.1017/S0144686X13000184
PMCID: PMC4107842  PMID: 25067865
control; older people; care homes; extra care housing; home care; Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT)
13.  Oral Health Status of Older Adults in Kentucky: Results from the Kentucky Elder Oral Health Survey 
The purpose of the Kentucky Elder Oral Health Survey (KEOHS) was to assess the oral health status of Kentuckians 65 and older.
The KEOHS consisted of a self-administered questionnaire and a clinical examination. Recruitment occurred from May 2002 through March 2005 of persons aged 65 and older (n=1386) whose functional ability was classified by residential setting. Independent elders living in their own homes were designated as “well-elders,” those who lived in skilled nursing facilities and who were functionally dependent were designated as “nursing home elders,” and those older adults who were considered frail were designated as “homebound elders.”
Significant associations were found between the functional ability of the elders and demographic characteristics. While elders who were homebound reported the highest rate of barriers to care, dental insurance, affordability, and transportation were consistently reported as barriers for all groups of elders.
This study has established the baseline oral health status of older adults in Kentucky and the data shows-differences that exist for various community living situations.
doi:10.1111/j.1754-4505.2010.00154.x
PMCID: PMC3732100  PMID: 20831736
Living Situation; Access to Care; Elders; survey; oral health; Kentucky
14.  Home healthcare services in Taiwan: a nationwide study among the older population 
Background
Home healthcare services are important in aging societies worldwide. The present nationwide study of health insurance data examined the utilization and delivery patterns, including diagnostic indications, for home healthcare services used by seniors in Taiwan.
Methods
Patients ≥65 years of age who received home healthcare services during 2004 under the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Program were identified and reimbursement claims were analyzed. Age, gender, disease diagnoses, distribution of facilities providing home healthcare services, and patterns of professional visits, including physician and skilled nursing visits, were also explored.
Results
Among 2,104,978 beneficiaries ≥65 years of age, 19,483 (0.9%) patients received 127,753 home healthcare visits during 2004 with a mean number of 6.0 ± 4.8 visits per person. The highest prevalence of home healthcare services was in the 75-84 year age group in both sexes. Females received more home healthcare services than males in all age groups. Cerebrovascular disease was the most frequent diagnosis in these patients (50.7%). More than half of home healthcare visits and around half of the professional home visits were provided by community home nursing care institutions. The majority of the home skilled nursing services were tube replacements, including nasogastric tubes, Foley catheter, tracheostomy, nephrostomy or cystostomy tubes (95%).
Conclusions
Nine out of 1,000 older patients in Taiwan received home healthcare services during 2004, which was much lower than the rate of disabled older people in Taiwan. Females used home healthcare services more frequently than males and the majority of skilled nursing services were tube replacements. The rate of tube replacement of home healthcare patients in Taiwan deserves to be paid more attention.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-274
PMCID: PMC2955015  PMID: 20854692
15.  Feasibility and impact of a post–discharge geriatric evaluation and management service for patients from residential care: the Residential Care Intervention Program in the Elderly (RECIPE) 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14:48.
Background
Geriatric evaluation and management has become standard care for community dwelling older adults following an acute admission to hospital. It is unclear whether this approach is beneficial for the frailest older adults living in permanent residential care. This study was undertaken to evaluate (1) the feasibility and consumer satisfaction with a geriatrician-led supported discharge service for older adults living in residential care facilities (RCF) and (2) its impact on the uptake of Advanced Care Planning (ACP) and acute health care service utilisation.
Methods
In 2002–4 a randomised controlled trial was conducted in Melbourne, Australia comparing the geriatrician–led outreach service to usual care for RCF residents. Patients were recruited during their acute hospital stay and followed up at the RCF for six months. The intervention group received a post-discharge home visit within 96 hours, at which a comprehensive geriatric assessment was performed and a care plan developed. Participants and their families were also offered further meetings to discuss ACPs and document Advanced Directives (AD). Additional reviews were made available for assessment and management of intercurrent illness within the RCF. Consumer satisfaction was surveyed using a postal questionnaire.
Results
The study included 116 participants (57 intervention and 59 controls) with comparable baseline characteristics. The service was well received by consumers demonstrated by higher satisfaction with care in the intervention group compared to controls (95% versus 58%, p = 0.006).
AD were completed by 67% of participants/proxy decision makers in the intervention group compared to 13% of RCF residents prior to service commencement. At six months there was a significant reduction in outpatient visits (intervention 21 (37%) versus controls 45 (76%), (p < 0.001), but no difference in readmissions rates (39% intervention versus 34% control, p = 0.6). There was a trend towards reduced hospital bed-day utilisation (intervention 271 versus controls 372 days).
Conclusion
It is feasible to provide a supported discharge service that includes geriatrician assessment and care planning within a RCF. By expanding the service there is the potential for acute health care cost savings by decreasing the demand for outpatient consultation and further reducing acute care bed-days.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-48
PMCID: PMC3998217  PMID: 24735110
Residential aged care facilities; Geriatric assessment; Advance care plans; Acute health care utilisation
16.  Multiresistant pathogens in geriatric nursing – infection control in residential facilities for geriatric nursing in Germany 
Background: The increase of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) causes problems in geriatric nursing homes. Older people are at increased a growing risk of infection due to multimorbidity and frequent stays in hospital. A high proportion of the elderly require residential care in geriatric nursing facilities, where hygiene requirements in nursing homes are similar to those in hospitals. For this reason we examined how well nursing homes are prepared for MDROs and how effectively protect their infection control residents and staff.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed on infection control in residential geriatric nursing facilities in Germany 2012. The questionnaire recorded important parameters of hygiene, resident and staff protection and actions in case of existing MDROs.
Results: The response was 54% in Hamburg and 27% in the rest of Germany. Nursing homes were generally well equipped for dealing with infection control: There were standards for MDROs and regular hygiene training for staff. The facilities provided adequate protective clothing, affected residents are usually isolated and hygienic laundry processing conducted. There are deficits in the communication of information on infected residents with hospitals and general practitioners. 54% of nursing homes performed risk assessments for staff infection precaution.
Conclusion: There is a growing interest in MDROs and infection control will be a challenge in for residential geriatric nursing facilities in the future. This issue has also drawn increasing attention. Improvements could be achieved by improving communication between different participants in the health service, together with specific measures for staff protection at work.
doi:10.3205/dgkh000242
PMCID: PMC4184044  PMID: 25285266
infection control; nosocomial infections; nursing homes; elderly people; infection prevention
17.  Community-Based Home Healthcare Project for Korean Older Adults 
Objectives
The aim of this study was to identify the effects of community-based home healthcare projects that influence service performances with regard to Korean national long-term care insurance services in older adults.
Methods
The project's applicants were 18 operational agencies in national long-term care institutions in Korea, and participants were care recipients (n = 2263) registered in long-term care institutions. We applied our healthcare system to the recruited participants for a 3-month period from October 2012 to December 2012. We measured the community-based home healthcare services such as long-term care, health and medical service, and welfare and leisure service prior to and after applying the community-based home healthcare system.
Results
After the implementation of community-based home healthcare project, all community-based home healthcare services showed an increase than prior to the project implementation. The nutrition management service was the most increased and its increase rate was 628.6%. A comparison between the long-term care insurance beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries showed that health and medical services’ increase rate of nonbeneficiaries was significantly higher than beneficiaries (p < 0.001).
Conclusion
Our community-based home healthcare project might improve the service implementation for older adults and there was a difference in the increase rate of health and medical services between Korean national long-term care insurance beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries.
doi:10.1016/j.phrp.2013.09.002
PMCID: PMC3845225  PMID: 24298438
community care; home healthcare; long-term care insurance; older adults
18.  Increased Health Service Utilization Costs in the Year Prior to Institutionalization: Findings from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging 
Canadian Geriatrics Journal  2014;17(2):45-52.
Objectives
The objective of this study was to characterize patterns of formal health service utilization costs during older adults’ transition from community to institutional care.
Methods
Participants were 127 adults (age ≥ 65) from the British Columbia sample (N = 2,057) of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging who transitioned from community to institutional care between 1991 and 2001. Health service utilization costs were measured using Cost-Per-Day-At-Risk at five time points: > 12 months, 6–12 months, and ≤ 6 months preinstitutionalization, and ≤ 6 months and 6–12 months postinstitutionalization. Cost-Per-Day-At-Risk was measured for Continuing Care, Medical Services Plan, and PharmaCare costs by calculating total health service use over time, divided by the number of days the participant was alive.
Results
Significant differences in Cost-Per-Day-At-Risk were observed for Continuing Care, Medical Services Plan, and PharmaCare costs over time. All health service utilization costs increased significantly during the 6–12 months and ≤ 6 months prior to institutionalization. Postinstitutionalization Continuing Care costs continued to increase at ≤ 6 months before decreasing at 6–12 months, while decreases occurred for Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare costs relative to preinstitutionalization costs.
Conclusions
The increases in costs observed during the year prior to institutionalization, characterized by a flurry of health service utilization, provide evidence of distinct cost patterns over the transition period.
doi:10.5770/cgj.17.82
PMCID: PMC4038535  PMID: 24883162
transitions; health-care costs; health service utilization; institutionalization; elderly; long-term care; nursing home
19.  Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in reducing the probability of an elderly person’s falling and/or sustaining a fall-related injury.
Background
Although estimates of fall rates vary widely based on the location, age, and living arrangements of the elderly population, it is estimated that each year approximately 30% of community-dwelling individuals aged 65 and older, and 50% of those aged 85 and older will fall. Of those individuals who fall, 12% to 42% will have a fall-related injury.
Several meta-analyses and cohort studies have identified falls and fall-related injuries as a strong predictor of admission to a long-term care (LTC) home. It has been shown that the risk of LTC home admission is over 5 times higher in seniors who experienced 2 or more falls without injury, and over 10 times higher in seniors who experienced a fall causing serious injury.
Falls result from the interaction of a variety of risk factors that can be both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors are those that pertain to the physical, demographic, and health status of the individual, while extrinsic factors relate to the physical and socio-economic environment. Intrinsic risk factors can be further grouped into psychosocial/demographic risks, medical risks, risks associated with activity level and dependence, and medication risks. Commonly described extrinsic risks are tripping hazards, balance and slip hazards, and vision hazards.
Note: It is recognized that the terms “senior” and “elderly” carry a range of meanings for different audiences; this report generally uses the former, but the terms are treated here as essentially interchangeable.
Evidence-Based Analysis of Effectiveness
Research Question
Since many risk factors for falls are modifiable, what interventions (devices, systems, programs) exist that reduce the risk of falls and/or fall-related injuries for community-dwelling seniors?
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
Inclusion Criteria
English language;
published between January 2000 and September 2007;
population of community-dwelling seniors (majority aged 65+); and
randomized controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-experimental trials, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses.
Exclusion Criteria
special populations (e.g., stroke or osteoporosis; however, studies restricted only to women were included);
studies only reporting surrogate outcomes; or
studies whose outcome cannot be extracted for meta-analysis.
Outcomes of Interest
number of fallers, and
number of falls resulting in injury/fracture.
Search Strategy
A search was performed in OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), The Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published between January 2000 and September 2007. Furthermore, all studies included in a 2003 Cochrane review were considered for inclusion in this analysis. Abstracts were reviewed by a single author, and studies meeting the inclusion criteria outlined above were obtained. Studies were grouped based on intervention type, and data on population characteristics, fall outcomes, and study design were extracted. Reference lists were also checked for relevant studies. The quality of the evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE methodology.
Summary of Findings
The following 11 interventions were identified in the literature search: exercise programs, vision assessment and referral, cataract surgery, environmental modifications, vitamin D supplementation, vitamin D plus calcium supplementation, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), medication withdrawal, gait-stabilizing devices, hip protectors, and multifactorial interventions.
Exercise programs were stratified into targeted programs where the exercise routine was tailored to the individuals’ needs, and untargeted programs that were identical among subjects. Furthermore, analyses were stratified by exercise program duration (<6 months and ≥6 months) and fall risk of study participants. Similarly, the analyses on the environmental modification studies were stratified by risk. Low-risk study participants had had no fall in the year prior to study entry, while high-risk participants had had at least one fall in the previous year.
A total of 17 studies investigating multifactorial interventions were identified in the literature search. Of these studies, 10 reported results for a high-risk population with previous falls, while 6 reported results for study participants representative of the general population. One study provided stratified results by fall risk, and therefore results from this study were included in each stratified analysis.
Summary of Meta-Analyses of Studies Investigating the Effectiveness of Interventions on the Risk of Falls in Community-Dwelling Seniors*
CI refers to confidence interval; RR, relative risk.
Hazard ratio is reported, because RR was not available.
Summary of Meta-Analyses of Studies Investigating the Effectiveness of Interventions on the Risk of Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors*
CI refers to confidence interval; RR, relative risk.
Odds ratio is reported, because RR was not available.
Conclusions
High-quality evidence indicates that long-term exercise programs in mobile seniors and environmental modifications in the homes of frail elderly persons will effectively reduce falls and possibly fall-related injuries in Ontario’s elderly population.
A combination of vitamin D and calcium supplementation in elderly women will help reduce the risk of falls by more than 40%.
The use of outdoor gait-stabilizing devices for mobile seniors during the winter in Ontario may reduce falls and fall-related injuries; however, evidence is limited and more research is required in this area.
While psychotropic medication withdrawal may be an effective method for reducing falls, evidence is limited and long-term compliance has been demonstrated to be difficult to achieve.
Multifactorial interventions in high-risk populations may be effective; however, the effect is only marginally significant, and the quality of evidence is low.
PMCID: PMC3377567  PMID: 23074507
20.  Are community-living and institutionalized dementia patients cared for differently? Evidence on service utilization and costs of care from German insurance claims data 
Background
Dementia patients are often cared for in institutional arrangements, which are associated with substantial spending on professional long-term care services. Nevertheless, there is little evidence on the exact cost differences between community-based and institutional dementia care, especially when it comes to the distinct health care services. Adopting the perspective of the German social security system, which combines Statutory Health Insurance and Compulsory Long-Term Care Insurance (payer perspective), our study aimed to compare community-living and institutionalized dementia patients regarding their health care service utilization profiles and to contrast the respective expenditures.
Methods
We analysed 2006 claims data for 2,934 institutionalized and 5,484 community-living individuals stratified by so-called care levels, which reflect different needs for support in activities of daily living. Concordant general linear models adjusting for clinical and demographic differences were run for each stratum separately to estimate mean per capita utilization and expenditures in both settings. Subsequently, spending for the community-living and the institutionalized population as a whole was compared within an extended overall model.
Results
Regarding both settings, health and long-term care expenditures rose the higher the care level. Thus, long-term care spending was always increased in nursing homes, but health care spending was comparable. However, the underlying service utilization profiles differed, with nursing home residents receiving more frequent visits from medical specialists but fewer in-hospital services and anti-dementia drug prescriptions. Altogether, institutional care required additional yearly per capita expenses of ca. €200 on health and ca. €11,200 on long-term care.
Conclusion
Community-based dementia care is cost saving from the payer perspective due to substantially lower long-term care expenditures. Health care spending is comparable but community-living and institutionalized individuals present characteristic service utilization patterns. This apparently reflects the existence of setting-specific care strategies. However, the bare economic figures do not indicate whether these different concepts affect the quality of care provision and disregard patient preferences and caregiver-related aspects. Hence, additional research combining primary and secondary data seems to be required to foster both, sound allocation of scarce resources and the development of patient-centred dementia care in each setting.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-2
PMCID: PMC3543842  PMID: 23286826
Payer perspective; Social security system; Budget impact; Spending; Health care; Long-term care; Nursing care; ADL impairment; Care level; Care setting
21.  The Uptake and Accuracy of Oral Kits for HIV Self-Testing in High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Cross-Sectional Feasibility Study in Blantyre, Malawi 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(10):e1001102.
Augustine Choko and colleagues assess the uptake and acceptability of home-based supervised oral HIV self-testing in Malawi, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach in a high-prevalence, low-income environment.
Background
Although HIV testing and counseling (HTC) uptake has increased dramatically in Africa, facility-based services are unlikely to ever meet ongoing need to the full. A major constraint in scaling up community and home-based HTC services is the unacceptability of receiving HTC from a provider known personally to prospective clients. We investigated the potential of supervised oral HIV self-testing from this perspective.
Methods and Findings
Adult members of 60 households and 72 members of community peer groups in urban Blantyre, Malawi, were selected using population-weighted random cluster sampling. Participants were offered self-testing plus confirmatory HTC (parallel testing with two rapid finger-prick blood tests), standard HTC alone, or no testing. 283 (95.6%) of 298 selected adults participated, including 136 (48.0%) men. 175 (61.8%) had previously tested (19 known HIV positive), although only 64 (21.5%) within the last year. HIV prevalence was 18.5%. Among 260 (91.9%) who opted to self-test after brief demonstration and illustrated instructions, accuracy was 99.2% (two false negatives). Although 98.5% rated the test “not hard at all to do,” 10.0% made minor procedural errors, and 10.0% required extra help. Most participants indicated willingness to accept self-test kits, but not HTC, from a neighbor (acceptability 94.5% versus 46.8%, p = 0.001).
Conclusions
Oral supervised self-testing was highly acceptable and accurate, although minor errors and need for supervisory support were common. This novel option has potential for high uptake at local community level if it can be supervised and safely linked to counseling and care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
According to the World Health Organization, despite the dramatic increase in the acceptability of HIV testing, more than 60% of people living with HIV do not know their status—a factor that is seriously hampering the global response to the HIV epidemic. The inconvenience and cost involved in visiting services in addition to a general aversion to visiting health facilities appear to be major barriers. Home-based HIV-testing services bypass these obstacles and are being adopted as national policy in a number of countries. However, given the tension between confidentiality and convenience, many people do not want to be counseled and tested by someone they know well, thus creating logistical difficulties and added costs to the provision of home-based testing services.
Why Was This Study Done?
Self-testing in private has considerable potential to contribute to first-time and repeat HIV testing but raises a number of issues, such as accuracy, the potential for adverse psychological reactions in the absence of face-to-face counseling, and the difficulty in organizing subsequent links to HIV/AIDS care. Self-testing has been used for over a decade in the US, but given the need to further scale up HIV testing and counseling in Africa, and to encourage regular repeat testing, the researchers conducted a mixed quantitative and qualitative study of self-testing for HIV using oral test kits to test whether supervised oral self-testing could yield accurate results. The researchers also wanted to explore reasons for accepting self-testing and respondents' preferences for HIV testing.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted their study in four community health worker catchment areas in three high-density residential suburbs of Blantyre, Malawi. Between March and July 2010, the researchers randomly selected two groups of participants from within these catchment areas and all adults were then invited to participate in interview and optional HIV testing and counseling carried out in their home. Participants were offered the choice between self-test for HIV followed by standard voluntary counseling and testing, standard voluntary counseling and testing only, and no HIV testing or counseling. Pre-and post-test counseling was provided to all participants and after self-testing, a counselor reread the self-test kit, completed a checklist of potential errors and confirmed the result using two rapid HIV test kits run in parallel from a finger-prick blood specimen. All participants testing positive were referred to the nearest primary health center.
All 260 participants who consented to voluntary counseling and testing also opted to self-test, with the remaining 23 (8.1%) choosing not to test. HIV prevalence was 18.5% (48 of 260) and HIV prevalence among participants who had previously tested HIV-negative or not tested at all was 12.0% (29 of 241 participants) meaning that less than half of HIV-infected participants were previously diagnosed, and just over half of undiagnosed HIV infections were in individuals who had previously tested HIV negative. The researchers found self-testing to be highly accurate, with clear and concordant results for 256 (99.2%) of 258 participants with both self-test and blood results. Overall sensitivity for self-test self-read was 97.9% with specificity of 100%. At exit interview, 256 (98.5%) of participants rated self-testing as “very easy” to do but additional help was requested by 26 (10%) of self test participants and procedural errors were identified for 26 participants (10%). Importantly, self-testing was the preferred option for future HIV tests for 56.4% of participants and the most common choice for both men and women.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this study show that self-testing for HIV (after a brief demonstration and illustrated instructions) is highly accurate and is widely accepted by the community, indicating that there is strong community readiness to adopt self-testing alongside other HIV counseling and testing strategies in high HIV prevalence settings in urban Africa. Self-testing may prove especially valuable for encouraging regular repeat testing, couple testing, and first-time testing in otherwise hard-to-reach groups such as men and older individuals. Finally, given the accuracy achieved and strong preferences around future testing, further exploration of self-testing options could help to make progress towards meeting universal access goals.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001102.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Walensky and Bassett
Recently published WHO Guidelines explain the principles and processes of adapting HIV guidelines into national programs
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control's initiative Act against AIDS has some user-friendly information on the different types of HIV tests available
A WHO document discusses existing practices and surrounding issues related with HIV self-testing among health workers in sub-Saharan Africa
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001102
PMCID: PMC3186813  PMID: 21990966
22.  Community-based intervention to improve dietary habits and promote physical activity among older adults: a cluster randomized trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:8.
Background
The fastest growing age group globally is older adults, and preventing the need for long-term nursing care in this group is important for social and financial reasons. A population approach to diet and physical activity through the use of social services can play an important role in prevention. This study examined the effectiveness of a social health program for community-dwelling older adults aimed at introducing and promoting physical activity in the home at each individual’s pace, helping participants maintain good dietary habits by keeping self-check sheets, and determining whether long-standing unhealthy or less-than-ideal physical and dietary habits can be changed.
Method
This cluster randomized trial conducted at 6 community centers in an urban community involved 92 community-dwelling older adults aged 65–90 years. The intervention group (3 community centers; n = 57) participated in the social health program “Sumida TAKE10!” which is an educational program incorporating the “TAKE10!® for Older Adults” program, once every 2 weeks for 3 months. The control group (3 community centers; n=35) was subsequently provided with the same program as a crossover intervention group. The main outcome measures were changes in food intake frequency, food frequency score (FFS), dietary variety score (DVS), and frequency of walking and exercise. The secondary outcome measures were changes in self-rated health, appetite, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (TMIG) Index of Competence score.
Results
Compared to baseline, post-intervention food intake frequency for 6 of 10 food groups (meat, fish/shellfish, eggs, potatoes, fruits, and seaweed), FFS, and DVS were significantly increased in the intervention group, and interaction effects of FFS and DVS were seen between the two groups. No significant differences were observed between baseline and post-intervention in the control group. Frequency of walking and exercise remained unchanged in both groups, and no significant difference in improvement rate was seen between the groups. Self-rated health was significantly increased in the intervention group. Appetite and TMIG Index of Competence score were unchanged in both groups.
Conclusions
The social health program resulted in improved dietary habits, as measured by food intake frequency, FFS, and DVS, and may improve self-rated health among community-dwelling older adults.
Trial registration number
UMIN000007357
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-8
PMCID: PMC3560222  PMID: 23343312
Social health program; Community-dwelling older adults; Dietary variety; Physical activity; Self-rated health
23.  What factors are associated with having an advance directive among older adults new to long-term care services? 
Objectives
To explore differences in having an advance directive among older adults newly transitioned to long-term services and support settings (LTSS; i.e., nursing homes, NH; assisted living facilities, ALF; home and community-based services, H&CBS).
Design
Cross sectional survey.
Setting
LTSS in New York and Pennsylvania.
Participants
Four-hundred and seventy older adults who recently started receiving LTSS. Included in this analyses, N=442 (ALF: n=153; NH: n=145; H&CBS: n=144).
Measurements
Interviews consisted of questions about advance directives (Living will and Health Care Power of Attorney-HCPOA), significant health changes in the six month prior to the start of long-term care support services, Mini-Mental State Examination, and basic demographics.
Results
Sixty-one percent (270/442) of older adults receiving LTSS reported having either a living will and/or a HCPOA. ALF residents reported having an advance directive more frequently than NH residents and older adults receiving LTSS in their own home (living will: Χ2[2]= 120.9; P < .001; HCPOA: Χ2[2]= 69.1; P < .001). In multivariate logistic regression models, receiving LTSS at an ALF (OR = 5.01; P < .001), being white (OR = 2.87; P < .001), having greater than 12 years of education (OR = 2.50; P < .001) and experiencing a significant health change in last 6-months (OR = 1.97; P = .007) were predictive of having a living will. Receiving LTSS at an ALF (OR = 4.16; P < .001), having greater than 12 years of education (OR = 1.74, P = 0.022), and having had a significant change in health in the last six months (OR = 1.61; P = .037) were predictive in having a HCPOA in this population of LTSS recipients.
Conclusions
These data provide insight into advance directives and older adults new to LTSS. Future research is needed to better understand the barriers to completing advance directives before and during enrollment in LTSS as well to assess advance directive completion changes over time for this population of older adults.
doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2010.12.010
PMCID: PMC3134595  PMID: 21450235
nursing home; assisted living; advanced care planning; PACE
24.  Appropriate place of death for cancer patients: views of general practitioners and hospital doctors. 
BACKGROUND. The majority of cancer patients in the United Kingdom die in a National Health Service hospital, a setting that is contrary to the wishes of those patients expressing a preference to die elsewhere, for example at home or in a hospice. AIM. A study was undertaken to determine clinicians' views of the appropriate place of death for cancer patients and to examine factors leading to patients being admitted to a hospital specialist services unit where they died. METHOD. A questionnaire was sent to all general practitioners and hospital doctors who had cared for cancer patients who had died between May 1991 and April 1992 in a single health district. The appropriateness of the place of death, whether the patient was terminally ill, reasons for hospital admission and effect on management had different resources been available were determined. RESULTS. A total of 1022 deaths attributable to cancer were recorded for patients registered with general practitioners in the study area. Questionnaires were returned by general practitioners for 951 of the deaths (93%); hospital doctors returned questionnaires for 216 out of 268 patients (81%) who had been admitted to hospital under the care of a consultant. For deaths which had occurred at home, in a community hospital, residential/nursing home or Marie Curie hospice, the place of death was considered appropriate by general practitioners in over 92% of cases. For deaths in the hospital specialist services unit the place of death was considered probably or definitely appropriate by general practitioners in 83% of the 212 cases, but not appropriate in 17% of cases (P < 0.001 compared with all other settings). Hospital doctors considered 27% of deaths in the unit inappropriate. Significantly fewer cases fulfilled the criteria for terminal illness (death expected and palliative treatment commenced) according to general practitioners among those dying in the specialist services unit compared with deaths elsewhere (P < 0.001). The most common main reasons for admission to the specialist services unit were for investigation, because of difficult symptom control (apart from pain) and for curative/active treatment. General practitioners reported that management of between a sixth and a quarter of patients admitted to the specialist services unit would have been affected by the availability of 24-hour home cover, community hospital beds and a city-based hospice. Among the group of patients fulfilling the study criteria for terminal illness, the effect of other services on patient management would have been considerably higher. CONCLUSION. A greater proportion of cases where patients died from cancer in settings other than a specialist services unit were considered appropriate by general practitioners compared with deaths in a specialist services unit. For a considerable minority of patients, death in a specialist services unit was not considered appropriate by the general practitioners or by the hospital doctors. Improvements in local hospice facilities, community hospitals and community support would mean that a substantial proportion of hospital admissions could be avoided and thus cancer patients could die in more appropriate settings.
PMCID: PMC1239299  PMID: 7612340
25.  Cholinesterase Inhibitors and Hospitalization for Bradycardia: A Population-Based Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(9):e1000157.
Laura Park-Wyllie and colleagues examined the health records of more than 1.4 million older adults and show that initiation of cholinesterase inhibitor therapy is associated with a more than doubling of the risk of hospitalization for bradycardia.
Background
Cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly used to treat dementia. These drugs enhance the effects of acetylcholine, and reports suggest they may precipitate bradycardia in some patients. We aimed to examine the association between use of cholinesterase inhibitors and hospitalization for bradycardia.
Methods and Findings
We examined the health care records of more than 1.4 million older adults using a case-time-control design, allowing each individual to serve as his or her own control. Case patients were residents of Ontario, Canada, aged 67 y or older hospitalized for bradycardia between January 1, 2003 and March 31, 2008. Control patients (3∶1) were not hospitalized for bradycardia, and were matched to the corresponding case on age, sex, and a disease risk index. All patients had received cholinesterase inhibitor therapy in the 9 mo preceding the index hospitalization. We identified 1,009 community-dwelling older persons hospitalized for bradycardia within 9 mo of using a cholinesterase inhibitor. Of these, 161 cases informed the matched analysis of discordant pairs. Of these, 17 (11%) required a pacemaker during hospitalization, and six (4%) died prior to discharge. After adjusting for temporal changes in drug utilization, hospitalization for bradycardia was associated with recent initiation of a cholinesterase inhibitor (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29–3.51). The risk was similar among individuals with pre-existing cardiac disease (adjusted OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.18–4.28) and those receiving negative chronotropic drugs (adjusted OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.16–4.71). We found no such association when we replicated the analysis using proton pump inhibitors as a neutral exposure. Despite hospitalization for bradycardia, more than half of the patients (78 of 138 cases [57%]) who survived to discharge subsequently resumed cholinesterase inhibitor therapy.
Conclusions
Among older patients, initiation of cholinesterase inhibitor therapy was associated with a more than doubling of the risk of hospitalization for bradycardia. Resumption of therapy following discharge was common, suggesting that the cardiovascular toxicity of cholinesterase inhibitors is underappreciated by clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia principally affect people aged over 65. These conditions result in confusion, long term memory loss, irritability, and mood swings. As the population of developed countries ages, the prevalence of dementia is expected to increase significantly. It is forecast that the proportion of people with dementia in the US will quadruple by 2045.
A common treatment for Alzheimer disease is a class of drug called an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor or cholinesterase inhibitor. These include donepezil (brand name Aricept), rivastigmine (marketed as Exelon and Exelon Patch), and galantamine (branded Razadyne).
The benefit of taking cholinesterase inhibitors is generally small and they cannot reverse the effects of dementia. In about 50% of patients they delay the worsening of symptoms for between six months and a year, although a small number of patients may benefit more. They can have unpleasant side effects, which may include diarrhoea and muscle cramps.
Why Was This Study Done?
Existing evidence is inconclusive on whether cholinesterase inhibitors increase the risk of bradycardia, an abnormally slow resting heart rate of below 60 beats a minute, which can cause fatigue, dizziness, fainting, palpitations, shortness of breath, or death. In this paper, the authors use routinely collected health care data to investigate whether an older person taking a cholinesterase inhibitor is at increased risk of bradycardia.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They began by supposing that cholinesterase inhibitors might induce bradycardia soon after a patient first began to take them. To investigate this, they obtained health care data on 1.4 million patients aged 67 or over in Ontario, Canada. They identified 161 patients who had visited a hospital for bradycardia and who had previously taken a cholinesterase inhibitor only within specific periods of time. They found that 139 had taken a cholinesterase inhibitor within the previous three months compared with 22 who had stopped taking it at least six months before.
They compared these cases with up to three “control” patients who matched each of the initial “case” group of 161 patients by age, sex, and risk of bradycardia on the basis of their general health. None of the 466 controls had visited a hospital for bradycardia by the “index date,” that is, the date of hospitalization of the case patient they matched. The researchers found 349 of the control patients had begun to take a cholinesterase inhibitor in the three months prior to the index date, compared with 117 who had stopped taking it at least six months before. A statistical analysis of these data showed that recent initiation of cholinesterase inhibitors was associated with approximately a doubling of the risk of hospitalization for bradycardia.
The authors repeated their procedure to see whether another class of drug, proton pump inhibitors, had a similar effect. As they had expected, it did not. They repeated the analysis for patients taking into account other drugs that slow the heart rate and found that their increased risk of bradycardia when taking a cholinesterase inhibitor persisted. The increase in risk was also similar in patients with pre-existing heart problems.
The researchers' data also showed that, excluding patients who while in the hospital had a pacemaker fitted to control their heart rate, over half of the patients released from hospital started taking a cholinesterase inhibitor again. Of these, a few returned to hospital with bradycardia within 100 days.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Recent guidelines suggest that doctors should not prescribe cholinesterase inhibitors for dementia patients as a matter of course, but weigh the potential risks and benefits. This paper provides evidence of an additional risk, of which at least some doctors are unaware. It was not possible to compare risk for different cholinesterase inhibitors because most patients took donepezil.
A population-based study like this cannot prove that cholinesterase inhibitors cause bradycardia. The authors used routinely collected data and so did not have information on all relevant risk factors, and thus there remains a possibility of bias due to unmeasured factors. In addition the authors had to make assumptions, for instance that patients took the drugs prescribed for them. They also considered only diagnoses of bradycardia made by a hospital doctor and not those made elsewhere, which means the incidence of bradycardia may have been underestimated. A strength of the study is the use of a case-time-control design, which has the advantage of reducing bias due to the different health conditions and lifestyle of individual patients, and also bias due to factors changing over time.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000157.
Wikipedia contains information on Alzheimer disease (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
Information on bradycardia and its causes can be found in Wikipedia (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The UKs National Health Service provides information on dementia, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
MedlinePlus provides US-based health information (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute on Aging provides information on health, relevant to older people, including Alzheimer Disease and dementia (in English and Spanish)
The US Alzheimers Association contains useful information on the disease, including on medication
The Public Health Agency of Canada website provides information on senior health (in English and French)
The UK-based Alzheimers Society provides advice on caring for people with dementia
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000157
PMCID: PMC2742897  PMID: 19787032

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