Anemia is common among nursing home residents and affects their physical functioning

Research Activities, March 2011, No. 367

More than half of 451 nursing home residents, who participated in a study of a restorative-care intervention to improve their functioning, were anemic. These anemic residents tended to have lower scores for function, balance, gait, and overall mobility than residents without anemia, found the researchers. Two-thirds of anemic residents were treated with at least one medicine to treat this condition—iron replacement in more than half of cases and an erythropoetin in less than 10 percent of cases.

University of Maryland researchers led by Barbara Resnick, Ph.D., C.R.N.P., combined data from the trial with laboratory findings from the medical charts of residents at 12 nursing homes, which showed that the anemia of two-thirds of the residents was associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Residents with anemia associated with CKD had lower self-efficacy (confidence in managing their health) and outcome expectations for function than residents with CKD without anemia. The researchers defined anemia as hemoglobin level less than 12 g/dL for women and less than 13 g/dL for men.

The researchers call for future studies to investigate the impact of anemia treatment on the functional activities of nursing home residents. The study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS13372).

More details are in "The impact of anemia on nursing home residents," by Dr. Resnick, Valerie Sabol, Ph.D., C.R.N.P., Elizabeth Galik, Ph.D., C.R.N.P., and others in Clinical Nursing Research 19(2), pp. 113-130, 2010.

Current as of March 2011
Internet Citation: Anemia is common among nursing home residents and affects their physical functioning: Research Activities, March 2011, No. 367. March 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/mar11/0311RA25.html