Improvement in Activities of Daily Living during a Nursing Home Stay and One-Year Mortality among Older Adults with Sepsis

Brian Downer, Kevin Pritchard, Kali S. Thomas, Kenneth Ottenbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: To describe the recovery of activities of daily living (ADLs) during a skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay and the association with 1-year mortality after SNF discharge among Medicare beneficiaries treated in intensive care for sepsis. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Skilled nursing facilities in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries admitted to an SNF within 3 days of discharge from a hospitalization that included an intensive care unit (ICU) stay for sepsis between January 1, 2013, and September 30, 2015 (N = 59,383). MEASUREMENTS: Data from the Minimum Data Set (MDS) were used to calculate a total score for seven ADLs. Improvement was determined by comparing the total ADL scores from the first and last MDS assessments of the SNF stay. Proportional hazard models were used to estimate the association between improvement in ADL function and 1-year mortality after SNF discharge. RESULTS: Approximately 58% of SNF residents had any improvement in ADL function. Residents who had improvement in ADL function had 0.72 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.69–0.74) lower risk for mortality following SNF discharge than residents who did not improve. Residents who improved 1–3 points (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.79–0.84) and four or more points (HR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.55–0.60) in ADL function had significantly lower mortality risk than residents who did not improve. CONCLUSION: Older adults treated in an ICU with sepsis can improve in ADL function during an SNF stay. This improvement is associated with lower 1-year mortality risk after SNF discharge. These findings provide evidence that ADL recovery during an SNF stay is associated with better health outcomes for older adults who have survived an ICU stay for sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-945
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • skilled nursing facilities; sepsis; activities of daily living; mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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