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Organizational Characteristics of Assisted Living Communities With Policies Supportive of Admitting and Retaining Residents in Need of End-of-Life Care.

Travis LJ, Thomas KS, Clark MA, Belanger E. Organizational Characteristics of Assisted Living Communities With Policies Supportive of Admitting and Retaining Residents in Need of End-of-Life Care. The American journal of hospice & palliative care. 2021 Aug 1; 38(8):947-953.

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BACKGROUND: There has been a rapid increase in the number of residential care/assisted living communities (RC/AL) that allow residents to die in place. The objective of this study was to examine the organizational characteristics of RC/AL communities that are associated with facility-level policies supportive of admitting and retaining residents in need of end-of-life (EOL) care. METHODS: We used cross-sectional data from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities. Organizational characteristics included structural factors, staffing levels, and other relevant facility-level policies. We examined descriptive statistics, binomial and multivariable multinomial regression models to determine the likelihood of 1) admitting and retaining, or 2) only retaining, as compared to 3) neither admitting nor retaining AL residents in need of EOL care. RESULTS: A majority of residential care facilities 73.7% (n = 22,642) reported admitting and retaining residents at EOL. Yet, levels of skilled nursing care were generally low with 60.9% of these RC/AL communities reporting that registered nurses were not available, including hospice staff. In multivariable, multinomial regression models, organizational characteristics such as skilled nursing, hands-on contact hours from personal care aides, and policies allowing exemptions to self-evacuation rules were associated with increased likelihood of RC/AL communities admitting/retaining residents in need of EOL care. CONCLUSION: Despite overall low levels of skilled nursing care, a nationally representative survey revealed that a majority of RC/AL communities admit and retain residents in need of EOL care. Staffing and exemptions from self-evacuation policies appear to be central characteristics associated with the provision of these services in RC/AL communities.

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