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Sex-specific Differences for End-of-life Interventions in Advanced Dementia

by Mary Selvaraj on August 17, 2019 at 3:06 PM
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Sex-specific Differences for End-of-life Interventions in Advanced Dementia

Population-based frequency, factors, and gender differences in burdensome interventions and antibiotic therapy were found among nursing home residents with advanced dementia. The burdensome interventions include transitions of care, invasive procedures, and physical restraints.

The importance of the study was that Nursing home residents with advanced dementia have limited life expectancies yet are commonly subjected to burdensome interventions at the very end of life. Whether sex-specific differences in the receipt of these interventions exist and what levels of physical restraints and antibiotics are used in this terminal setting are unknown.



The objective of the study was to evaluate the population-based frequency, factors, and sex differences in burdensome interventions and antibiotic therapy among nursing home residents with advanced dementia.

The design, setting and the participants in this population-based cohort study from Ontario, Canada, used linked administrative databases held at ICES, including the Continuing Care Resident Reporting System Long-Term Care database, which contains data from the Resident Assessment Instrument Minimum Data Set, version 2.0. Nursing home residents (n = 27 243) with advanced dementia who died between June 1, 2010, and March 31, 2015, at 66 years or older were included in the analysis. Initial statistical analysis was completed in May 2017, and analytical revisions were conducted from November 2018 to January 2019.

The exposure was the sex of the nursing home resident.

The main outcomes and measures were burdensome interventions (transitions of care, invasive procedures, and physical restraints) and antibiotic therapy in the last 30 days of life.

The results were that the final cohort included 27 243 nursing home residents with advanced dementia (19 363 [71.1%] women) who died between June 1, 2010, and March 31, 2015, at the median (interquartile range) age of 88 (83-92) years. In the last 30 days of life, burdensome interventions were common, especially among men: 5940 (21.8%) residents were hospitalized (3661 women [18.9%] vs 2279 men [28.9%]; P < .001), 2433 (8.9%) had an emergency department visit (1579 women [8.2%] vs 854 men [10.8%]; P < .001), and 3701 (13.6%) died in an acute care facility (2276 women [11.8%] vs 1425 men [18.1%]; P < .001). Invasive procedures were also common; 2673 residents (9.8%) were attended for life-threatening critical care (1672 women [8.6%] vs 1001 men [12.7%]; P < .001), and 210 (0.8%) received mechanical ventilation (113 women [0.6%] vs 97 men [1.2%]; P < .001). Among the 9844 residents (36.1%) who had a Resident Assessment Instrument Minimum Data Set, version 2.0, completed in the last 30 days of life, 2842 (28.9%) were physically restrained (2002 women [28.3%] vs 840 men [30.4%]; P = .005). More than one-third (9873 [36.2%]) of all residents received an antibiotic (6599 women [34.1%] vs 3264 men [41.4%]; P < .001). In multivariable models, men were more likely to have a transition of care (adjusted odds ratio, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.33-1.49; P < .001) and receive antibiotics (adjusted odds ratio, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.26-1.41; P < .001). Only 3309 residents (12.1%; 2382 women [12.3%] vs 927 men [11.8%]) saw a palliative care physician in the year before death, but those who did experienced greater than 50% lower odds of an end-of-life transition of care (adjusted odds ratio, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.43-0.54); P < .001) and greater than 25% lower odds of receiving antibiotics (adjusted odds ratio, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.68-0.81; P < .001).

In conclusion and relevance, in this study, many nursing home residents with advanced dementia, especially men, received burdensome interventions and antibiotics in their final days of life. These findings appear to emphasize the need for sex-specific analysis in dementia research as well as the expansion of palliative care and end-of-life antimicrobial stewardship in nursing homes.

Source: Eurekalert

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