Hearing ability is not a risk factor for admission to aged residential care of older persons in New Zealand

TitleHearing ability is not a risk factor for admission to aged residential care of older persons in New Zealand
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSchluter PJ, McAuliffe MJ, Askew DA, Jamieson HA
JournalScientific reports
ISBN Number2045-2322
Accession Number31754118

Aged residential care (ARC) admission needs are increasing beyond the available capacity in many countries, including New Zealand. Therefore, identifying modifiable factors which may prevent or delay ARC admissions is of international importance. Hearing impairment is common among older adults and thought to be an important predictor, although the current evidence-base is equivocal. Using the largest national database to date, competing-risk regression analysis was undertaken on 34,277 older adults having standardised home care assessments between 1 July 2012 and 31 May 2014, aged ≥65 years, and still living in the community 30 days after that assessment. Minimal hearing difficulty was reported by 10,125 (29.5%) participants, moderate difficulty by 5,046 (14.7%), severe difficulty/no hearing by 1,334 (3.9%), while 17,769 (51.8%) participants reported adequate hearing. By 30 June 2014, the study end-point, 6,389 (18.6%) participants had an ARC admission while 6,082 (17.7%) had died. In unadjusted competing-risk regression analyses, treating death as a competing event, hearing ability was significantly associated with ARC admission (p < 0.001). However, in adjusted analyses, this relationship was completely confounded by other variables (p = 0.67). This finding implies that screening for hearing loss among community-living older adults is unlikely to impact on ARC admission rates.

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Short TitleSci RepSci Rep
Alternate JournalSci Rep