Predictors of Functional Changes in Italian Nursing Home Residents: The U.L.I.S.S.E. Study

Massimiliano Fedecostante, Giuseppina Dell'Aquila, Paolo Eusebi, Stefano Volpato, Giovanni Zuliani, Pasquale Abete, Fabrizia Lattanzio, Antonio Cherubini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To identify independent predictors of the risk of functional decline in older nursing home (NH) residents. Design: A longitudinal observational study. Setting: Thirty-one NHs participating in the U.L.I.S.S.E. project, distributed throughout Italy. Participants: All older (≥65 years) long-term NH residents without complete disability and with at least one follow-up evaluation during the 12-month study period (n = 1263). Measurements: All participants underwent a standardized comprehensive evaluation using the Italian version of the Minimum Data Set for NHs. The activities of daily living (ADLs) Long-Form scale was used to evaluate functional status. Facility characteristics were collected using an ad hoc designed questionnaire. Results: Of the NH residents, 40.4% experienced a decline in the ADL during the follow-up. The mixed effect logistic regression model showed that depression (odds ratio [OR] 1.45, confidence interval [CI] 1.16-1.81,. P = .005) and the use of antipsychotics (OR 1.30, CI 1.06-1.60,. P = .016) were associated with a higher probability of ADL decline, whereas the presence of a geriatrician (OR 0.60, CI 0.41-0.88,. P = .015) and a higher than median hour per resident per week of nursing care (OR 0.55, CI 0.37-0.80,. P = .006) were associated with a lower risk. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that preventing functional decline in NH residents might be possible by optimizing the management of depression and by reducing the current high prescription rate of antipsychotics. Moreover, the presence of a geriatrician, associated with an adequate amount of nursing care, seem to be important facilities characteristics to achieve this goal. These findings should be tested in large-scale pragmatic clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015


  • Antipsychotics
  • Depression
  • Functional decline
  • Geriatrician
  • Nurse
  • Nursing home

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy


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