Self-care dependency among elders in long-term care settings

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


General acceptance of a pattern of activities of daily living (ADL) dependency has led to the use of an additive method of determining self-care dependency and need for long-term care. This traditional method of determining ADL levels is convenient, and it is practical to the extent that individuals in a long-term care population do fit a scaled pattern of dependency. This research was based on 3611 cases from the Preadmission Screening Program of the Virginia Medical Assistance Program. Tabular and staged logistic regression analyses examined: 1) characteristics of this group of long-term care elders, 2) the extent of ADL divergence in various recommended care settings, 3) the relationship between rehabilitation status and ADL divergence, 4) other factors influencing divergence from the ADL dependency hierarchy.

The results of this study demonstrated that a large proportion of those screened did not match the original Index of ADL. Therefore, the justification for counting ADL dependency, based on an underlying hierarchy of ADL, was not upheld. Further research was indicated for improving eligibility and placement criteria that would reflect a fluid rather than a static system of long-term care. For example, rehabilitative trajectory could serve as an indicator of projected changes in assistance for self-care.