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Predicting death in home care users: derivation and validation of the Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community Tool (RESPECT)

Hsu AT, Manuel DG, Spruin S, Bennett C, Taljaard M, Beach S, Sequeira Y, Talarico R, Chalifoux M, Kobewka D, Costa AP, Bronskill SE, Tanuseputro P. CMAJ. 2021; 193(26):E997-1005. Epub 2021 Jul 5. DOI:

Background — Prognostication tools that report personalized mortality risk and survival could improve discussions about end-of-life and advance care planning. We sought to develop and validate a mortality risk model for older adults with diverse care needs in home care using self-reportable information - the Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community Tool (RESPECT).

Methods — Using a derivation cohort that comprised adults living in Ontario, Canada, aged 50 years and older with at least 1 Resident Assessment Instrument for Home Care (RAI-HC) record between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2012, we developed a mortality risk model. The primary outcome was mortality 6 months after a RAI-HC assessment. We used proportional hazards regression with robust standard errors to account for clustering by the individual. We validated this algorithm for a second cohort of users of home care who were assessed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013. We used Kaplan-Meier survival curves to estimate the observed risk of death at 6 months for assessment of calibration and median survival. We constructed 61 risk groups based on incremental increases in the estimated median survival of about 3 weeks among adults at high risk and 3 months among adults at lower risk.

Results — The derivation and validation cohorts included 435 009 and 139 388 adults, respectively. We identified a total of 122 823 deaths within 6 months of a RAI-HC assessment in the derivation cohort. The mean predicted 6-month mortality risk was 10.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 10.7%-10.8%) and ranged from 1.54% (95% CI 1.53%-1.54%) in the lowest to 98.1% (95% CI 98.1%-98.2%) in the highest risk group. Estimated median survival spanned from 28 days (11 to 84 d at the 25th and 75th percentiles) in the highest risk group to over 8 years (1925 to 3420 d) in the lowest risk group. The algorithm had a c-statistic of 0.753 (95% CI 0.750-0.756) in our validation cohort.

Interpretation — The RESPECT mortality risk prediction tool that makes use of readily available information can improve the identification of palliative and end-of-life care needs in a diverse older adult population receiving home care.

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