Unmet Home Care Needs Correlate with Increased Mortality

June 27, 2017 in Our News & Bulletins by Uptown HC

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are routine tasks, such as eating, bathing, and toileting, that we normally perform ourselves. When we are no longer able to perform those activities, our ability to live independently at home is compromised. Now a study shows that it isn’t just our independence that’s compromised. Unmet home care needs also affect our length of life.

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society demonstrates a strong connection between unmet homecare needs among seniors with dementia and increased mortality. Researchers Gaugler, et al. tracked 5,831 dementia patients over 18 months. They interviewed caregivers about needs for assistance with specific activities of daily living (ADLs). Caregivers were asked whether those needs were being met.

The researchers found that:

  • People who need more assistance with just one ADL are 12% more likely to be placed in a nursing home.
  • People who need more assistance with two ADLs are 77% more likely to be placed in a nursing home.
  • People who need more assistance with two or more ADLs have a 37% higher mortality rate.

Unmet ADL needs were a better predictor of mortality and nursing home placement than direct tests of mental and functional abilities.

Various reports over the past three decades have connected unmet ADL needs among older adults with medication non-adherence, injuries, falls, dehydration, discomfort, distress, and going hungry. Our in-home non-medical services, including personal care support, ensure that ADL needs are being met—which is important to better health, comfort, and independence.

Gaugler J, Kane R, et al. Unmet care needs and key outcomes in dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 53 (12): 2098-2105).

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