Background — Women are more likely to be admitted to nursing home after stroke than men. Differences in patient characteristics and outcomes by sex after institutionalization are less understood. We examined sex differences in the characteristics and care needs of patients admitted to nursing home following stroke and their subsequent survival.
Methods — We identified patients with stroke newly admitted to nursing home between April 2011 and March 2016 in Ontario, Canada, with follow-up until March 2018 using linked administrative data. We calculated prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the primary outcomes of dependence for activities of daily living, cognitive impairment, frailty, health instability, and symptoms of depression or pain, comparing women to men. The secondary outcome was all-cause mortality.
Results — Among 4831 patients, 60.9% were women. Compared to men, women were older (median age [interquartile range, IQR]: 84 [78, 89] vs. 80 [71, 86]), more likely to be frail (prevalence ratio 1.14, 95% CI [1.08, 1.19]), have unstable health (1.45 [1.28, 1.66]), and experience symptoms of depression (1.25 [1.11, 1.40]) or pain (1.21 [1.13, 1.30]), and less likely to have aggressive behaviors (0.87 [0.80, 0.94]). Overall median survival was 2.9 years. In a propensity-score-matched cohort, women had lower mortality than men (hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI [0.77, 0.94]), but in the age-stratified survival analysis, the survival advantage in women was limited to those aged 75 years and older.
Conclusions — Despite lower subsequent mortality, women admitted to nursing home after stroke required more care than men. Pain and depression are two treatable symptoms that disproportionately affect women.