2018 Conference Presentation
Objectives: LTCFocus.org is a product of the Shaping Long-Term Care in America Project conducted at the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research. The website, updated annually, provides valuable longitudinal information about long-term care in the United States. LTCFocus.org provides data from 2000 to 2016, with measures of the health and functional status of nursing home residents, characteristics of nursing home facilities, state policies relevant to long-term care services and financing, and data characterizing the markets in which facilities exist.
Methods: LTCFocus.org brings together data gathered from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including administrative claims, patient assessment data, publicly reported quality measures, survey data, and a number of other sources that characterize the policy environment and local market forces affecting nursing home providers. Measures include geo-coded nursing home location, information on nursing home characteristics (e.g., occupancy rate, median length of stay, hospital readmissions), resident characteristics (e.g. percent female, racial categories, average age), local market characteristics (e.g. number of home health agencies, number of hospital beds per 1,000 65 and older), nursing home staffing, admissions (e.g. percent admitted from hospital, admitted from home, measures of cognitive and physical function at admission), quality (e.g. percent of residents with daily pain, pressure ulcer risk, restraints). The website allows users to customize maps to gather information by state, county, or individual nursing home. National maps can be created which display state level data and state maps can be created which display data at the nursing home and county level. Additionally, all data presented on the website are available to download at the nursing home, county, and state level. This allows researchers to merge LTCFocus data with other resources by state, county, or nursing home provider number to address a wide variety of research questions.
Results: Data are available for more than 70 measures across 17 years at the nursing home, county, and state levels. Since going live in November 2009, the website has had over 35,000 visits by 25,000 unique users, and the data have been downloaded nearly 2,000 times. More than 1,120 individuals have registered for the LTCFocus.org mailing list in order to be kept apprised of any updates. Additionally, LTCFocus users unaffiliated with the research team have produced 73 papers using data we make publicly available.
Conclusions: LTCFocus.org allows researchers to examine the relationship between state policies, local market forces, and the quality of long-term care. Researchers can use this website to examine care processes and resident outcomes within the context of their local markets and regulatory practices. Policymakers can use the information to inform state and local guidelines, policies, and regulations that promote high-quality, cost-effective, equitable care to older Americans. Together, it is anticipated that these audiences will have the data, tools, and results to better understand the long-term care system, and to achieve improvements in how care is organized, financed, and delivered.