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Wang XJ, Teno JM, Rosendaal N, Smith L, Thomas KS, Dosa D, Gozalo PL, Carder P, Belanger E. State Regulations and Assisted Living Residents' Potentially Burdensome Transitions at the End of Life. Journal of palliative medicine. 2022 Dec 29.
Potentially burdensome transitions at the end of life (e.g., repeated hospitalizations toward the end of life and/or health care transitions in the last three days of life) are common among residential care/assisted living (RC/AL) residents, and are associated with lower quality of end-of-life care reported by bereaved family members. We examined the association between state RC/AL regulations relevant to end-of-life care delivery and the likelihood of residents experiencing potentially burdensome transitions. Retrospective cohort study combining RC/AL registries of states'' regulations with Medicare claims data for residents in large RC/ALs (i.e., 25+ beds) in the United States on the 120th day before death (? = 129,153), 2017-2019. Independent variables were state RC/AL regulations relevant to end-of-life care, including third-party services, staffing, and medication management. Analyses included: (1) separate logistic regression models for each RC/AL regulation, adjusting for sociodemographic covariates; (2) separate logistic regression models with a Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) subgroup to control for comorbidities, and (3) multivariable regression analysis, including all regulations in both the overall sample and the Medicare FFS subgroup. We found a lack of associations between potentially burdensome transitions and regulations regarding third-party services and staffing. There were small associations found between regulations related to medication management (i.e., requiring regular medication reviews, permitting direct care workers for injections, requiring/not requiring licensed nursing staff for injections) and potentially burdensome transitions. In this cross-sectional study, the associations of RC/AL regulations with potentially burdensome transitions were either small or not statistically significant, calling for more studies to explain the wide variation observed in end-of-life outcomes among RC/AL residents.