Markers of Impaired Decision Making in Nursing Home Residents: Assessment by Nursing Home Staff in a Population-Based Study

Kevin M. Fain, Paul B. Rosenberg, Sandrine Pirard, Olivera Bogunovic, Adam P. Spira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Many nursing home residents have cognitive impairment that affects their decision making. In order to identify potential markers of impaired decision making, we investigated the association between a range of nursing home resident characteristics and impaired decision making in a population-based sample. Methods: Participants were 13,013 residents in the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey. We used logistic regression to determine the association between resident characteristics (ie, gender, age, race, mood, recent pain, falls, fractures, or hospitalizations, length of stay, number of activities of daily living (ADL) requiring help, and diagnoses of dementia, anxiety disorders, and depression) and impaired (vs independent) decision making. Results: After controlling for depression and anxiety diagnoses, as well as gender, age, race, and recent hospitalization or pain, characteristics associated with impaired decision making included depressed, sad, or anxious mood ["mild" odds ratio (OR) = 1.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.23-1.58; "severe" OR = 2.69, 95% CI = 2.27-3.20); diagnosed dementia or living on a dementia hall (OR = 5.07, 95% CI = 4.52-5.67); number of ADL requiring assistance (with 5 ADL, OR = 10.69, 95% CI = 6.82-16.75); length of nursing home stay [101-365 days (OR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.36-1.89); 366 days-2 years (OR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.34-1.90); >2 years (OR = 2.25, 95% CI = 1.92-2.63)]; and history of falls or fractures in the last 6 months (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.07-1.32)]. Residents reporting pain in the last week were less likely to have impaired decision making (OR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.52-0.66). Conclusions: We found several independent markers of impaired decision making in nursing home residents, including depressed, sad, or anxious mood (independent of depression or anxiety diagnosis); dementia; and greater need for ADL assistance. Some of these factors, in particular mood, are modifiable and addressing them may help improve decision making. These markers should be explored further to help identify residents with impaired decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-567
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Decision-making performance
  • Depression
  • National Nursing Home Survey
  • Nursing homes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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