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A national study showed that diagnoses varied by age group in nursing home residents under age 65


Objective — Those aged <65 in nursing homes (NHs) are substantially different from elderly residents. This study uses data gathered from the Resident Assessment Instrument's Minimum Data Set (MDS) to describe these relatively rare residents.

Study — Design and Setting The study uses MDS assessments of close to three-quarter million residents in nine states from 1994 to 1996. Residents are described within chronological age group (0–4, 5–14, etc.). Factor analysis is used to develop diagnostic clusters, and the prevalence of these clusters, functional problems, other conditions, and treatments is described for each group.

Results — Thirteen 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, young adults have the highest prevalence of hemi- and quadriplegia, while older residents are typified by increasing prevalence of neurological diagnoses.

Conclusion — This study offers an initial description of NH residents <65. The prevalence of residents with unique conditions may suggest the need to modify the MDS assessment instrument.



Fries BE, Wodchis WP, Blaum C, Buttar A, Drabek J, Morris JN. J Clin Epidemiol. 2005; 58(2):198-205.

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