Current prevalence of dementia, depression and behavioural problems in the older adult care home sector: the South East London Care Home Survey

Robert Stewart, Matthew Hotopf, Michael Dewey, Clive Ballard, Jatinder Bisla, Maria Calem, Viola Fahmy, Jo Hockley, Julie Kinley, Hywel Pearce, Anoop Saraf, Aysha Begum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: a large and increasing number of older people in the UK are living in care homes. Dementia is a frequent reason underlying admission and determining care needs, but prevalence data are becoming increasingly outdated and reliant on brief screening instruments.

Objective: to describe the prevalence and severity of dementia, depression, behavioural problems and relevant medication use in a representative sample of residential and nursing care home residents.

Design/setting: a survey conducted in 15 randomly selected South East London care homes. Consensus clinical dementia diagnoses were made from multi-source information, and the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) Scale applied. Depression was ascertained using the Cornell Depression in Dementia Scale and psychological/behavioural problems using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI).

Participants: three hundred and one residents with a mean (SD) age of 83.5 (9.8) and 65.8% female were included.

Results: dementia (CDR 1–3) prevalence was 75.1% overall, 55.8% in residential homes, 91.0% in residential elderly mentally infirm care and 77.0% in nursing homes. Depression prevalences were 26.5, 22.0 and 29.6%, respectively, and mean (95% CI) NPI severity scores 3.99 (3.47–4.50), 6.34 (5.29–7.39) and 6.10 (5.50–6.70) with 87.3% of the sample exhibiting at least one NPI symptom. Antidepressants were prescribed in 25.6, 25.0 and 41.3%, respectively, and antipsychotics in 7.0, 34.1 and 19.1%.

Conclusion: dementia is substantially more common in care homes than recorded diagnoses would suggest, but studies using brief screening instruments may overestimate prevalence. High prevalences of depressive and/or behavioural symptoms and psychotropic use suggest significant unmet need.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-567
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

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