In spite of a rapidly ageing population, there is a lack of population-based data on mortality among nursing home residents in Southern Europe.
To assess mortality rates, their determinants, and causes of death in newly admitted nursing home residents in the Veneto region (northeastern Italy).
19,392 subjects aged ≥ 65 years admitted to regional nursing homes during 2015–2017 were recruited in a cohort mortality study based on linked health records. Risk factors for mortality were investigated by Cox regression. The distribution of causes of death was retrieved from death certificates.
Mortality peaked in the first 4 months after admission; thereafter the monthly mortality rate fluctuated around 3% in males and 2% in females. Overall mortality was 23% at 6 months and 34% at 1 year. In addition to age, gender, and dependency, main risk factors for mortality were recent hospitalization (first 4 months after entry into the facility), and the burden of comorbidities (subsequent follow-up period). The most represented causes of mortality were similar in the first and in the subsequent period after admission: cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, respiratory diseases, and infections.
The first months after admission represent a period at high risk of mortality, especially for patients with a recent hospitalization. Causes reported in death certificates suggest mainly an acute deterioration of pre-existing chronic conditions.
Health care plans should be personalized for newly admitted vulnerable patients. Palliative care needs should be recognized and addressed for high-risk non-cancer patients.
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