Outcome of nursing home care for residents with alcohol use disorders

Carol L. Joseph, Jennifer Rasmussen, Linda Ganzini, Roland M. Atkinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Scopus citations


    Objectives. To describe the outcome of nursing home (NH) care for a previously established cohort of residents with active, inactive or no alcohol use disorder (AUD), and to examine demographic variables, health services utilization, mortality and drinking behaviors in this group. Design. Retrospective cohort study with participant interviews at NH admission and 3 years later. Setting. Urban Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and Nursing Home Care Unit (NHCU). Participants. Patients older than age 50 admitted consecutively to a VA NHCU between July 1991 and February 1993 who completed a structured interview, N = 117. Main outcome measures. AUD as determined by DSM-III-R criteria. Demographics, health services utilization and mortality as abstracted from the VA medical record. Results. Health service utilization as measured by care episodes was not significantly different in the three groups (active, inactive and no AUD), but subjects with AUD had documented health services use related to alcoholism, including hospitalizations for alcohol-related illness, placements in long-term care facilities to control drinking and death from alcohol-related causes. The mean age at death was significantly younger for study participants with active or inactive AUD compared to those with no AUD: 67.7, 70.4 and 77.9 years, respectively (p < 0.004). Of the 21 participants with active AUD at NHCU entry, 11 resumed drinking after discharge and six still met criteria for active AUD 3 years later. Conclusions. The subset of NHCU patients with active AUD continued to incur alcohol-related hospitalizations and institutionalizations following NHCU discharge and suffered early mortality relative to their peers. Effective models of care for this subset of patients should be sought.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)767-772
    Number of pages6
    JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - Jul 1997


    • Alcohol
    • Elderly
    • Nursing homes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geriatrics and Gerontology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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