Author(s): Hawes C, Mor V, Phillips CD, Fries BE, Morris JN,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To characterize changes in key aspects of process quality received by nursing home residents before and after the implementation of the national nursing home Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) and other aspects of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) nursing home reforms. DESIGN: A quasi-experimental study using a complex, multistage probability-based sample design, with data collected before (1990) and after (1993) implementation of the RAI and other OBRA provisions. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Two independent cohorts (n > 2000) of residents in a random sample of 254 nursing facilities located in metropolitan statistical areas in 10 states. INTERVENTION: OBRA-87 enhanced the regulation of nursing homes and included new requirements on quality of care, resident assessment, care planning, and the use of neuroleptic drugs and physical restraints. One of the key provisions, used to help implement the OBRA requirements in daily nursing home practice, was the mandatory use of a standardized, comprehensive system, known as the RAI, to assist in assessment and care planning. OBRA provisions went into effect in federal law on October 1, 1990, although delays issuing the regulations led to actual implementation of the RAI during the Spring of 1991. MEASUREMENTS AND ANALYSES: Research nurses spent an average of 4 days per facility in each data collection round, assessing a sample of residents, collecting data through interviews with and observations of residents, interviews with multiple shifts of direct staff caregivers for the sampled residents, and review of medical records, including physician's orders, treatment and care plans, nursing progress notes, and medication records. The RNs collected data on the characteristics of the sampled residents, on the care they received, and on facility practices. The effect of being a member of the 1990 pre-OBRA or the 1993 post-OBRA cohort was assessed on the accuracy of information in the residents' medical records, the comprehensiveness of care plans, and on other key aspects of process quality while controlling for any changes in resident case-mix. The data were analyzed using contingency tables and logistic regression and a special statistical software (SUDAAN) to assure proper variance estimation. RESULTS: Overall, the process of care in nursing homes improved in several important areas. The accuracy of information in residents' medical records increased substantially, as did the comprehensiveness of care plans. In addition, several problematic care practices declined during this period, including use of physical restraints (37.4 to 28.1\% (P < .001)) and indwelling urinary catheters (9.8 to 7\% (P < .001)). There were also increases in good care practices, such as the presence of advanced directives, participation in activities, and use of toileting programs for residents with bowel incontinence. These results were sustained after controlling for differences in the resident characteristics between 1990 and 1993. Other practices, such as use of antipsychotic drugs, behavior management programs, preventive skin care, and provision of therapies were unaffected, or the differences were not statistically significant, after adjusting for changes in resident case-mix. CONCLUSION: The OBRA reforms and introduction of the RAI constituted an unprecedented implementation of comprehensive geriatric assessment in Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes. The evaluation of the effects of these interventions demonstrates significant improvements in the quality of care provided to residents. At the same time, these findings suggest that more needs to be done to improve process quality. The results suggest the RAI is one tool that facility staff, therapists, pharmacy consultants, and physicians can use to support their continuing efforts to provide high quality of care and life to the nation's 1.7 million nursing home residents.
This article was published in J Am Geriatr Soc
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism