Targeting and quality of nursing home care. A five-nation study

G. I. Carpenter, J. P. Hirdes, M. W. Ribbe, N. Ikegami, D. Challis, K. Steel, R. Bernabei, B. Fries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to demonstrate that appropriate targeting and quality monitoring of institutional care of the elderly is possible using person-based information on residents of nursing homes. This cross-sectional study used Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessments of nursing home residents in 6 US states, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, and selected locations in Italy and Japan. The outcome measures were life expectancy at age 65, population over 65, percentage over 65's in nursing homes, and clinical characteristics of nursing home residents from a multinational database of RAI/MDS assessments. We found that Japan has the highest life expectancy, and the second lowest expenditure on health care. The United States has the highest expenditure on health care and intermediate life expectancy. Italy has the highest proportion of population over 65 and the lowest proportion of over 65's in nursing homes. Iceland, a relatively young country, has the highest proportion of Over 65's in nursing homes. Residents in Italy and the United States had the most severe physical, cognitive and clinical characteristics, those in Iceland the least. There was wide variation in markers of quality of care, with no country either uniformly good or bad across multiple measures. In conclusion, headline statistics comparing nations' percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on health care, age structure of the population, percentage of over 65's in nursing homes and clinical characteristics bear no consistent relationship. Local policy and practice also affect quality of care. Standardized assessment enables comparisons at local, national and international levels making possible further research on targeting and the appropriate use of institutional care, thus permitting a range of efficiency measures to be developed to inform policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Cross-national comparisons
  • Long-term care
  • Quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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