Author(s): Chan DC, Kasper JD, Black BS, Rabins PV
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The role of behavioral and psychological symptoms as an independent risk factor of nursing home placement (NHP) in cognitively impaired elders has been controversial. METHODS: A community sample of 449 cognitively impaired elders and their knowledgeable informants (KIs) was followed for 1 year. Subjects were classified as having dementia (n=330) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (n=119) using a neuropsychiatric battery of 4 tests. Subject characteristics (behavioral and psychological symptoms, demographic, health related, and health services use) and KI characteristics were entered into the Cox proportional hazard regression analysis. RESULTS: The incidence rate of NHP was 8.9\%. At baseline, 57.7\% of subjects had at least 1 behavioral and psychological symptom. Presence of these symptoms was associated with shorter time to NHP only in a univariate analysis. Other factors significant in the multivariate Cox modeling were being white (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.17), having fair or poor physical health rating (HR= 2.12), having greater numbers of difficulties with activities of daily living (HR = 1.46), and having a physician's diagnosis of dementia (HR = 6.76). An interaction was found between the last 2 variables (HR = 0.59), indicating that among those with a diagnosis of dementia, a greater number of difficulties with activities of daily living delayed time to NHP. KI characteristics were not associated with NHP. CONCLUSIONS: Behavioral and psychological symptoms were common, but having these symptoms was not an independent risk factor of NHP. Caregiver characteristics may not play as important a role in determining NHP as subject characteristics. Interventions aimed at improving or maintaining physical or cognitive functioning may have better chances of delaying NHP.
This article was published in J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research