The impact of complex chronic diseases on care utilization among assisted living residents

Matthew K. McNabney, Chiadi Onyike, Deirdre Johnston, Lawrence Mayer, Constantine Lyketsos, Jason Brandt, Adam Rosenblatt, Quincy Samus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Many residents of assisted living (AL) have chronic diseases that are difficult to manage, including congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes mellitus (DM). We estimated the amount and intensity of care delivered by the staff for residents with these conditions. Methods: We performed a secondary data analysis from the Maryland Assisted Living (MDAL) Study (399residents, 29 facilities). In-person assessments included measures of cognition, function, depression, and general medical health. Diagnosis of CHF, COPD, and DM, as well as current medications was abstracted from AL medical charts. Measures of care utilization were operationalized at the resident level as: 1) minutes per day of direct care (caregiver activity scale [CAS]), 2) subjective staff ratings of care burden, and 3) assigned AL "level of care" (based on state regulatory criteria). Results: In best fit regression models, CHF and DM were not significant predictors of the evaluated care utilization measures; however, COPD was independently associated with increased minutes per day of direct care - 34% of the variance in the caregiver activity scale was explained by degree of functional dependency, cognitive impairment, age, and presence of COPD. Functional dependency, depressive symptoms, and age explained almost a quarter (23%) of the variance of staff care burden rating. For the AL level of care intensity rating, degree of functional dependency, level of cognition, and age were significant correlates, together explaining about 28% of the variance. Conclusion: The presence of COPD was a significant predictor of time per day of direct care. However, CHF and DM were not correlates of care utilization measures. Functional and cognitive impairment was associated with measures of care utilization, reiterating the importance of these characteristics in the utilization and intensity of care consumed by AL residents. Further study of this population could reveal other forms and amounts of care utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Assisted living
  • Care utilization
  • Chronic diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology


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