MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The phenomenon of distressing and harmful resident-to-resident incidents in long-term care homes (such as nursing homes and assisted living residences) is prevalent, concerning but underrecognized. These incidents are currently not being tracked by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Federal agency that oversees nursing homes compliance with the Federal Nursing Home Regulations (there is no unique state survey deficiency citation — also called F-Tag or “Regulatory Grouping” that is specific to these incidents; beyond the classification under the broad categories of “Abuse,” Neglect,” and “Accident” where these incidents for all practical purposes are currently buried forever). In addition, the Minimum Data Set 3.0 (MDS), the largest clinical data set in nursing homes in the U.S., does not track this phenomenon in its Behavior E Section. Despite rapid growth in the number of research studies on various aspects of this phenomenon in recent years, no study in the U.S. and Canada examined fatal resident-to-resident incidents in the context of dementia in long-term care homes.
In light of lack of centralized data sets on resident-to-resident incidents resulting in injuries and deaths, the study had to overcome this formidable barrier by using non traditional data collection strategy and analytic methods. A comprehensive internet search conducted over several years identified reports on the death of 105 elders as a result of resident-to-resident incidents in dementia in long-term care homes (over 150 newspaper articles and dozens of death review records were identified; all publicly available information). A qualitative review and abstraction of narratives of the text-based reports revealed important patterns for prevention.