OBJECTIVES: To clarify the association between day care service use and 21-month mortality in community-dwelling frail older people.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study (the Nagoya Longitudinal Study for Frail Elderly).
PARTICIPANTS: One thousand six hundred seventy-three community-dwelling older people (540 men, 1,133 women).
MEASUREMENTS: Data included the clients' demographic characteristics; depression as assessed using the short version of the Geriatric Depression Scale; a rating for basic activities of daily living (ADLs); comorbidity; number of prescribed medications and physician-diagnosed chronic diseases; use of home-care services, including day care, visiting nurse, and home-help services; and number of regular medical checkups. Survival analysis of 21-month mortality was conducted using Kaplan-Meier curves and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.
RESULTS: Of the 1,673 participants, 726 were day care service users at baseline, and 268 (94 day care service users, 174 nonusers) died during the 21-month follow-up. Multivariate Cox regression models adjusting for potential confounders showed that day care service use was associated with reduction in mortality. Subgroup analysis demonstrated that day care service use was associated with less risk of mortality in subjects who were female; were in the youngest age group (65–74); had higher ADL scores, lower comorbidity, depression, no dementia; and used a visiting nurse service. Participants using day care service two and three times or more a week had 63% or 44% lower relative hazard ratios, respectively, than participants not using the service.
CONCLUSION: Among community-dwelling frail older people, day care service use two or more times per week was associated with 44% to 63% lower 21-month mortality.