Original Study| Volume 12, ISSUE 9, P660-667, November 2011

Monitoring Quality of Care for Nursing Home Residents With Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms Related to Dementia

Published:January 03, 2011DOI:


      Behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with dementia are common in nursing home residents. Quality indicators (QI) assessing quality of care for these residents are minimally risk adjusted and can provide inaccurate information regarding the quality of care provided by the facility.


      Evaluate the performance of a new QI for the incidence of worsening behaviors in nursing home residents with behavioral and psychological symptoms association with dementia.


      Retrospective cohort study.


      A total of 381 Minnesota nursing homes with 26,165 residents.

      Data Sources

      Minimum Data Set records for the first 2 calendar quarters of 2008.


      We calculated incidence of worsening behaviors QI by comparing items from the “behavior” section of the Minimum Data Set records from 2 consecutive quarters and reported the incidence rates by both the residents’ level of cognitive impairment and the presence or absence of special care unit for dementia (SCU).


      The incidence rates of the worsening behavior QI in SCU ranged from 14% in residents with very severe cognitive impairment (a cognitive performance score = 6) to 30% in those with moderate cognitive impairment (a cognitive performance score = 3). The incidence QI rates among residents residing in conventional unit ranged from 15% among those with very severe cognitive impairment to 20% among those with moderate cognitive impairment. These differences in QI rates between the 2 units were statistically significant with a P value = .001. After risk adjustment for level of cognitive impairment, number of facilities with SCUs that flagged for problem behaviors dropped from 18.4% to 12.4% and the number of conventional units in the low-risk category from 16.8% to 4.7%.


      Resident cognitive function and the facility utility of SCU are associated with worsening behavior QI and should be adjusted for in any nursing home quality reporting measure.


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