Incapacitated and Alone: Prevalence of Unbefriended Residents in Alberta Long-Term Care Homes

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The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of residents who are incapacitated and have no surrogate decision maker, known as the "unbefriended" in Alberta long-term care (LTC) homes. Using cross-sectional online survey methods, data were collected from 123 staff (i.e., directors of care/nursing, administrators) from Alberta LTC homes. Information was collected on survey respondents' demographic characteristics, number of unbefriended residents, and on organizational characteristics. The overall prevalence of unbefriended residents in LTC homes was 4.14% in Alberta (SD = 6.28%, range: 0%-34.6%). Homes with the highest prevalence (nearly 15%) of unbefriended residents had >135 beds and were public not-for-profit and located in large urban centers. Fifty-three percent of unbefriended residents were male. The highest prevalence of unbefriended residents lived in homes located in large urban centers and public not-for-profit operators. Population level and LTC home level prevalence data are needed to assess the scope of unmet needs.



unbefriended, surrogate decision maker, long-term care, prevalence, survey