• Evaluating Antidepressant Use in Nursing Home Residents with Moderate to Severe Cognitive Impairment

      Nalls, Victoria; Galik, Elizabeth; Resnick, Barbara (2020)
      Background: Antidepressants are commonly prescribed medications among nursing home residents and used to treat symptoms of dementia. Concerns have been raised, however, about disparities and potential inappropriate use of these medications within this population. Purpose: The purpose of this dissertation was to: (1) Describe factors associated with antidepressant use in nursing home residents with moderate to severe cognitive impairment; (2) Describe differences in antidepressant use between white and black nursing home residents with moderate to severe cognitive impairment; (3) Evaluate trends in antidepressants and antipsychotics prescribing among nursing home residents with moderate to severe cognitive impairment. Methods: This secondary data analysis used data from the Function and Behavior Focused Care (FBFC) for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia randomized control trial. A total of 336 residents were included in the study, who were mostly white, female, severely cognitively impaired (MMSE=7.8, SD=5.1) and the average age was 82. Data collection was done at baseline and 12 months and based on chart reviews, input from staff, and observation of residents. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to address aims 1 and 2. Generalized linear mixed modeling with a binary distribution and logit link function was used for aim 3. Results: At baseline, 59% of the sample was taking an antidepressant. Race was significantly associated with antidepressant use (β=0.51; p=0.01). Black residents were half as likely to be on antidepressants compared to white residents (OR=0.499 CI=0.305-0.817) and received lower dosages of sertraline (t=2.68; p=0.01). There was no significant change in antidepressant or antipsychotic use at 12 months. Conclusions: Black nursing home residents with moderate to severe cognitive impairment were significantly less likely to be on antidepressants and when treated, were likely to be on lower dosages of some antidepressants. It is unknown if this is due to misdiagnoses and disparities in treatment or lack of need for antidepressants or differences in responses to specific drug classes. Further research is needed to explore these differences and evaluate the influence of resident, prescriber, and facility factors on the use of antidepressants among nursing home residents with moderate to severe dementia.