Survival, Function, and Cognition After Hospitalization in Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals.

TitleSurvival, Function, and Cognition After Hospitalization in Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsJain, S, Gan, S, Nguyen, OK, Sudore, RL, Steinman, MA, Covinsky, K, Makam, AN
JournalJAMA Network Open
ISSN Number2574-3805
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cognition, Female, Hospitalization, Humans, Long-term Care, Male, Medicare, Middle Aged, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, United States

IMPORTANCE: More than 70 000 Medicare beneficiaries receive care in long-term acute care hospitals (LTCHs) annually for prolonged acute illness. However, little is known about long-term functional and cognitive outcomes of middle-aged and older adults after hospitalization in an LTCH.

OBJECTIVE: To describe survival, functional, and cognitive status after LTCH hospitalization and to identify factors associated with an adverse outcome.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective cohort study included middle-aged and older adults enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) with linked fee-for-service Medicare claims. Included participants were aged 50 years or older with an LTCH admission between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2016, with HRS interviews available before admission. Data were analyzed between November 1, 2021, and June 30, 2023.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Function and cognition were ascertained from HRS interviews conducted every 2 years. The primary outcome was death or severe impairment in the 2.5 years after LTCH hospitalization, defined as dependencies in 2 or more activities of daily living (ADLs) or dementia. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to evaluate associations with a priori selected risk factors including pre-LTCH survival prognosis (Lee index score), pre-LTCH impairment status, and illness severity characterized by receipt of mechanical ventilation and prolonged intensive care unit stay of 3 days or longer.

RESULTS: This study included 396 participants, with a median age of 75 (IQR, 68-82) years. Of the participants, 201 (51%) were women, 125 (28%) had severe impairment, and 318 (80%) died or survived with severe impairment (functional, cognitive, or both) within 2.5 years of LTCH hospitalization. After accounting for acute illness characteristics, prehospitalization survival prognosis as determined by the Lee index score and severe baseline impairment (functional, cognitive, or both) were associated with an increased likelihood of death or severe impairment in the 2.5 years after LTCH hospitalization (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 3.2 [95% CI, 1.7 to 6.0] for a 5-point increase in Lee index score; and AOR, 4.5 [95% CI, 1.3 to 15.4] for severe vs no impairment).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study, 4 of 5 middle-aged and older adults died or survived with severe impairment within 2.5 years of LTCH hospitalization. Better preadmission survival prognosis and functional and cognitive status were associated with lower risk of an adverse outcome, and these findings should inform decision-making for older adults with prolonged acute illness.

Citation Key13999
PubMed ID38805226
PubMed Central IDPMC11134219