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Five-year risk of admission to long-term care home and death for older adults given a new diagnosis of dementia: a population-based retrospective cohort study

Huyer G, Brown CRL, Spruin S, Hsu AT, Fisher S, Manuel DG, Bronskill SE, Qureshi D, Tanuseputro P. CMAJ. 2020; 192:E422-30. Epub Apr 20, 2020. DOI:

Background — After diagnosis of a health condition, information about survival and potential transition from community into institutional care can be helpful for patients and care providers. We sought to describe the association between a new diagnosis of dementia and risk of admission to a long-term care home and death at 5 years.

Methods — We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study using linked health administrative databases. We identified individuals aged 65 years or older, living in the community, with a first documented diagnosis of dementia between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, in Ontario, Canada. Dementia diagnosis was captured using diagnostic codes from hospital discharges, physician billings, assessments conducted for home care and long-term care, and dispensed prescriptions for cholinesterase inhibitors. Our primary outcome measures were 5-year risk of death and placement in a long-term care home, adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical factors.

Results — We identified 108 757 individuals in our study cohort. By the end of 5 years, 24.4% remained alive in the community and 20.5% were living in a longterm care home. Of the 55.1% who died, about half (27.9%) were admitted to a long-term care home before death. Three risk factors were associated with increased odds of death: older age (age ≥ 90 yr; odds ratio [OR] 9.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 8.8–10.2 [reference: age 65–69 yr]), male sex (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.6–1.7), and the presence of organ failure, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.7–1.8), congestive heart failure (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.9–2.0) and renal failure (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.6–1.8). Groups formed by combinations of these 3 factors had an observed 5-year risk of death varying between 22% and 91%.

Interpretation — Among community-dwelling older adults with newly identified dementia in Ontario, the majority died or were admitted to a long-term care home within 5 years. This information may be helpful for discussions on prognosis and need for admission to long-term care.

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