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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: States Vary in End of Life Trajectories for Older Adults Residing in Assisted Living Communities

Researchers at the Brown University School of Public Health have recently published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association tracking the end of life trajectories of those who reside in assisted living communities across the United States. The study was lead by Dr. Kali Thomas, an associate professor of health services, policy and practice at the school.

Using data from the Medicare Master Beneficiary Summary File, they identified a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries, aged 65+ who had lived in large assisted living communities. They then tracked the place of death for these individuals and found that the vast majority died outside of a hospital or nursing home setting. The authors suggest that more time spent in an assisted living residence may be beneficial to older adults as it may allow them to receive care that is line with their preferences – although no definite conclusions can be made about this.

They also found that these results varied by states – in states like Utah, people spent more time in assisted living before death, compared to states like North Dakota – which had the fewest days spent living in assisted living in the month before death. The authors suggest that this is likely due to differing regulations about end of life care from state to state; they suggest that states revisit their regulations to see if they end up restricting people’s ability to die in place. They also call for further research to understand the differences between states found in this study.

Read the full study.

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