One of the most relevant obstacle to assess and compare nursing home (NH) services and patients across countries relates to the fact that standardized and validated methodologies are not routinely in use in daily practice in Europe. The Minimum Data Set (MDS) is a comprehensive assessment instrument which contains a standardized set of essential clinical and functional status measures and allows evaluation of patients characteristics, measures of quality of care and patients outcomes. This instrument provides the informational basis for a system of outcome management and quality assurance for elders receiving long term care. The MDS is a powerful tool that can serve to assess outcomes, to measure quality of care and to compare provision of care, health care organization and systems across countries. We proposed to conduct a study aimed to validate the use of MDS as a methodology to assess provision of care in NH in Europe. Such methodology will allow to: a. measure patients outcomes and identify predictors of outcomes (changes in physical function, cognitive status, mood, hospitalization and survival) both at a patient level and at a service level; b. evaluate and monitor quality of care provided and identify incentives to improve quality and enhance prevention; c. compare structural and organisational characteristics of NH Services in European countries, along with the clinical and functional characteristics of their residents. To this aim we propose a large cross-national, prospective, observational study enrolling older people in NH in European countries. NH residents in the study will be assessed using the MDS. Information collected with this instrument will contribute to the creation of the first cross-national database on NH in Europe and will contribute to the validation of a methodology of assessment of NH residents that can be applied on large scale.
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