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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Nov 14. doi: 10.1002/gps.5026. [Epub ahead of print]

The use of direct care in nursing home residents: A longitudinal cohort study over 3 years.

Author information

Centre for Age-Related Medicine, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway.
Centre for Old Age Psychiatry Research, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Ottestad, Norway.
Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Ageing and Health, Vestfold Hospital Trust, Tønsberg, Norway.
Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Health Services Research Unit, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway.
Division of Neurogeriatrics, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Centre for Research and Development, Uppsala University/County Council of Gävleborg, Gävle, Sweden.



To evaluate the trend in the use of direct care in a cohort of nursing home (NH) residents and explore its association with resident characteristics and organizational factors.


A total of 696 NH residents from 47 Norwegian NHs were included at admissions at NH. In 537 residents, the use of direct care was assessed every 6 months over a course of 3 years. A multiple model was estimated to identify demographic, clinical, and organizational characteristics associated with the use of direct care time.


Six months after admission, on average, 76.2 hours of direct care were rendered to each resident per month, while this number was reduced to 50.3 hours per month at the end of the study period. Most residents (92%) showed a stable use of direct care time, while a small group of residents displayed a much higher and varying use of direct care time. Increasing dementia, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and decreasing function in activities of daily living were associated with higher use of direct care time. Direct care time constituted about 50% of the staff's working time.


In Norwegian NHs, high use of direct care time was associated with younger age, more severe dementia, and severe neuropsychiatric symptoms. By identifying factors that impact on direct care time, preventive measures might be put in place to the benefit of the residents and possibly to improve resource use. Further research should explore the association between direct care time, quality of care, and the residents' quality of life.


dementia; direct care; nursing home; nursing home care; nursing home residents


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