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Factors associated with length of stay in care homes: a systematic review of international literature

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number56
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/02/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>BMC Systematic Reviews
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A number of studies have explored factors associated with resident length of stay in care homes; however the findings of these studies have not been synthesized. The aim of this paper is to provide a systematic review of factors associated with length of stay until death and the strength of evidence supporting each of these factors.

This is a systematic review; databases included MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Proquest, the Cochrane Library and Web of Science were searched. Observational studies, either prospective or retrospective, that explored multiple factors associated with length of stay until death in care homes were included. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were sourced, data extracted and assessed for quality. Data synthesis combined the direction and significance of association with the quality of the study, resulting in strong, moderate, weak or inconclusive evidence for each factor identified.

Forty-seven studies were identified as meeting the inclusion criteria. After quality assessment, 14 studies were judged to be of a high quality, 31 of a moderate quality and 2 of a low quality. Three factors had strong evidence to support their association with shorter lengths of stay: shortness of breath, receipt of oxygen therapy and admission to a facility providing nursing care.

This review summarized the factors associated with length of stay. It found stronger evidence for physical functioning being associated with shorter lengths of stay than for cognitive functioning. An understanding of expected length of stay for older adults admitted to a care home is important for estimating lifetime costs and the implications of reforming funding arrangements for social care. Further research is needed to explore heterogeneity in this area.