Impact of informal care levels on discontinuation of living at home in community-dwelling dependent elderly using various community-based services

Masafumi Kuzuya, Jun Hasegawa, Yoshihisa Hirakawa, Hiromi Enoki, Sachiko Izawa, Takahisa Hirose, Akihisa Iguchi
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 2011, 52 (2): 127-32
The aim of the study was to examine the effect of informal care levels on overall discontinuation of living at home, all-cause death, hospital admission, and long-term care placement for community-dwelling older people using various community-based services during a 3-year period. Prospective cohort study of 1582 community-dwelling disabled elderly and paired informal caregivers was conducted. Baseline data included the recipients and caregivers' demographic characteristics, comorbidities, informal care levels (sufficient, moderate, and insufficient care), which were evaluated by trained visiting nurses, and the level of formal community-based service use. Among 1582 participants, 97 died at home, 692 were admitted to hospitals, 318 died during their hospital stay, and 117 were institutionalized in long-term care facilities during 3 years of follow-up. A multivariate Cox hazard model demonstrated that when compared with a sufficient informal care level, an insufficient informal care level was associated with overall discontinuation of living at home, all-cause mortality, hospitalization, and institutionalization during 3 years of follow-up (hazard ratio: 1.65, 95% confidence interval: 1.15-2.36; 1.98, 1.17-3.34; 1.56, 1.04-2.35; 2.93, 1.25-6.86, respectively). The results suggested that informal caregiving is an important factor in the prevention of overall discontinuation of living at home in a population of disabled older people.

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