Those aged less than 65 in nursing homes (NHs) are substantially different from elderly residents. This study used data gathered from the Resident Assessment Instrument's Minimum Data Set (MDS) to describe these relatively rare residents. The study used MDS assessments of close to three-quarter of a million residents in nine U.S. states from 1994 to 1996. Residents were described within chronological age group (0-4, 5-14, etc.). Factor analysis was used to develop diagnostic clusters, and the prevalence of these clusters, functional problems, other conditions, and treatments was described for each group.
The results showed that 13 diagnostic clusters describe nearly 85% of all NH residents and highlight differences between age groups. Pediatric residents are substantially more physically and cognitively impaired than young adult residents, and have the highest case mix burden of care. The youngest population primarily has diagnoses related to mental retardation and developmental disabilities, and young adults have the highest prevalence of hemi- and quadriplegia, while older residents are typified by increasing prevalence of neurological diagnoses.
This study offers an initial description of NH residents less than 65 years of age. The prevalence of residents with unique conditions may suggest the need to modify the MDS assessment instrument.