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Determinants of cost among people who died in VA nursing homes.

Yu W, Wagner TH, Barnett PG. Determinants of cost among people who died in VA nursing homes. Medical care research and review : MCRR. 2006 Aug 1; 63(4):477-98.

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We examined final stays of elderly patients (65 or more years of age) who died in 111 VA nursing homes in fiscal year 2000 (N = 4,897) to evaluate determinants of the cost of final nursing home stays. We analyzed cost and its two main components (length of stay and intensity of care) by primary disease, age, race or ethnicity, gender, and benefit-eligibility type. We found that disease rather than age was the dominant factor influencing the cost of final nursing home stays. After controlling for six common diagnoses, age was not associated with cost. Marital status and race or ethnicity were also significant predictors but accounted for less variation than illnesses. Incorporating illness into models that predict future demand for nursing home use provides greater precision than using age alone, especially as diseases and their treatments change through time.

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