Association of Nondisease-Specific Problems with Mortality, Long-Term Care, and Functional Impairment among Older Adults Who Require Skilled Nursing Care after Dialysis Initiation.Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2016 12 07; 11(12):2218-2224.CJ
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
The majority of older adults who initiate dialysis do so during a hospitalization, and these patients may require post-acute skilled nursing facility (SNF) care. For these patients, a focus on nondisease-specific problems, including cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms, exhaustion, falls, impaired mobility, and polypharmacy, may be more relevant to outcomes than the traditional disease-oriented approach. However, the association of the burden of nondisease-specific problems with mortality, transition to long-term care (LTC), and functional impairment among older adults receiving SNF care after dialysis initiation has not been studied.
DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS
We identified 40,615 Medicare beneficiaries ≥65 years old who received SNF care after dialysis initiation between 2000 and 2006 by linking renal disease registry data with the Minimum Data Set. Nondisease-specific problems were ascertained from the Minimum Data Set. We defined LTC as ≥100 SNF days and functional impairment as dependence in all four essential activities of daily living at SNF discharge. Associations of the number of nondisease-specific problems (≤1, 2, 3, and 4-6) with 6-month mortality, LTC, and functional impairment were examined.
Overall, 39.2% of patients who received SNF care after dialysis initiation died within 6 months. Compared with those with ≤1 nondisease-specific problems, multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval) for mortality were 1.26 (1.19 to 1.32), 1.40 (1.33 to 1.48), and 1.66 (1.57 to 1.76) for 2, 3, and 4-6 nondisease-specific problems, respectively. Among those who survived, 37.1% required LTC; of those remaining who did not require LTC, 74.7% had functional impairment. A higher likelihood of transition to LTC (among those who survived 6 months) and functional impairment (among those who survived and did not require LTC) was seen with a higher number of problems.
Identifying nondisease-specific problems may help patients and families anticipate LTC needs and functional impairment after dialysis initiation.