Review looks at outcomes of patients at different types of long-term care facilities

Research Activities, December 2012, No. 388

A new research review from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality compares patient health outcomes when cared for at different types of long-term care facilities. With over 11 million people in the United States requiring long-term care, it is important that research looks at the differences between long-term care settings and the effects they have on patients. When comparing outcomes in assisted living facilities with nursing homes over time, low-strength evidence suggested there were no differences in outcomes for physical function, cognitive health, mental health, or mortality in patients at both types of facilities.

When comparing outcomes of home and community-based services with nursing homes over time, low-strength evidence suggested that home and community-based service recipients experienced higher rates of some types of harms, including accidents, injuries, abuse, or neglect. Nursing home residents experienced higher rates of other types of harms, such as having a feeding tube or having a pressure ulcer.

The review also found that when evaluating older adults at the time of admittance into long-term care facilities, nursing home residents had more limitations in physical and cognitive function than both home and community-based service recipients and assisted living residents, but mental health and clinical status were mixed among the two populations. The review noted that the available studies had a high risk of bias, resulting in low or insufficient evidence for all the outcomes examined. To better understand the outcomes of long-term care, more research is needed to draw stronger conclusions about how the setting of care delivery influences health outcomes among older adults.

Details on current research on the effects of different long-term care facilities can be found in the evidence-based review, Long Term Care Strategies in Older Adults: A Review of Home and Community-based Services Versus Institutional Care. To access this review and other materials that explore the effectiveness and risks of treatment options for various conditions, visit the Effective Health Care Program Web site.

Current as of December 2012
Internet Citation: Review looks at outcomes of patients at different types of long-term care facilities: Research Activities, December 2012, No. 388. December 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/12dec/1212RA23.html