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The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 60:491-498 (2005)
© 2005 The Gerontological Society of America

Predicting Death in the Nursing Home: Development and Validation of the 6-Month Minimum Data Set Mortality Risk Index

Davina Porock1,, Debra Parker Oliver2, Steve Zweig3, Marilyn Rantz4, David Mehr3, Richard Madsen5 and Greg Petroski6

1 School of Nursing, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.
2 School of Social Work
3 Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine
4 Sinclair School of Nursing
5 Department of Statistics
6 Health Science Center, University of Missouri-Columbia.

Address correspondence to: Davina Porock, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, A Floor, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, England NG7 2HA. E-mail: Davina.Porock{at}

Background. Currently, 24% of all deaths nationally occur in nursing homes making this an important focus of care. However, many residents are not identified as dying and thus do not receive appropriate care in the last weeks and months of life. The aim of our study was to develop and validate a predictive model of 6-month mortality risk using functional, emotional, cognitive, and disease variables found in the Minimum Data Set.

Methods. This retrospective cohort study developed and validated a clinical prediction model using stepwise logistic regression analysis. Our study sample included all Missouri long-term-care residents (43,510) who had a full Minimum Data Set assessment transmitted to the Federal database in calendar year 1999. Death was confirmed by death certificate data.

Results. The validated predictive model with a c-statistic of.75 included the following predictors: a) demographics (age and male sex); b) diseases (cancer, congestive heart failure, renal failure, and dementia/Alzheimer's disease); c) clinical signs and symptoms (shortness of breath, deteriorating condition, weight loss, poor appetite, dehydration, increasing number of activities of daily living requiring assistance, and poor score on the cognitive performance scale); and d) adverse events (recent admission to the nursing home). A simple point system derived from the regression equation can be totaled to aid in predicting mortality.

Conclusions. A reasonably accurate, validated model has been produced, with clinical application through a scored point system, to assist clinicians, residents, and family members in defining good goals of care around end-of-life care.

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Copyright © 2005 by The Gerontological Society of America.