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Medicine and Health Sciences


CONTEXT. Prior research has shown that nursing home residents have a significant burden of symptoms including pain, nervous and depressed feelings, fatigue, and lack of energy. OPTIMISTIC is an 8-year initiative funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is based in Indianapolis. It is designed to reduce avoidable hospitalizations and enhance care in Indiana nursing homes. OBJECTIVE. Our study was a pilot study of OPTIMISTIC that provides baseline data for symptoms reported by stable nursing home residents. SETTING. For the pilot study, research assistants interviewed 42 residents from two different Indianapolis nursing homes. METHODS. To qualify for the study, residents had to be OPTIMISTIC eligible and could not have been acutely ill within the last two weeks. Qualified residents were then selected for interviews based on a randomized prioritized list. Research assistants used the SATISFIE tool to record resident symptom profiles. RESULTS. The results showed that 93% of residents indicated the presence of at least one symptom, and 52% of residents reported that they had at least one symptom that was severe. On average, residents were presenting with about 6.5 symptoms and 2/3 of all residents indicated a depressed mood. CONCLUSIONS. The findings from this pilot study raise awareness of the variety and severity of symptoms experienced by nursing home residents and highlights the need for a more in-depth assessment.


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