Effect of Forced Transitions on the Most Functionally Impaired Nursing Home Residents

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nursing home, transitions, hurricane

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Objectives: To examine the hospitalization rate and mortality associated with forced mass transfer of nursing home (NH) residents with the highest levels of functional impairment.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: One hundred nineteen Texas and Louisiana NHs identified as being at risk for evacuation for Hurricane Gustav.

Participants: Six thousand four hundred sixty-four long-stay residents residing in at-risk NHs for at least three consecutive months before landfall of Hurricane Gustav.

Measurements: Using Medicare claims and instrumental variable analysis, the mortality (death at 30 and 90 days) and hospitalization rates (at 30 and 90 days) of the most functionally impaired long-stay residents who were evacuated for Hurricane Gustav were compared with those of the most functionally impaired residents who did not evacuate.

Results: The effect of evacuation was associated with 8% more hospitalizations by 30 and 90 days for the most functionally impaired residents. Evacuation was not significantly related to mortality.

Conclusion: The most functionally impaired NH residents experience more hospitalizations but not mortality as a consequence of forced mass transfer. With the inevitability of NH evacuations for many different reasons, harm mitigation strategies focused on the most impaired residents are needed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 60, issue 10, p. 1895-1900