The proportion of new nursing home residents with numerous health conditions has risen along with drug prescriptions per individual and resident age, according to an investigation of eldercare facilities in Ontario, Canada.

Researchers looked at annual changes in the sociodemographic characteristics, morbidity, and functional status of new residents between 2000 and 2015. The proportion of residents aged 85 years and older increased from 45% to 54%. This growth was mirrored by an increase in the number of individuals with seven or more chronic conditions – from 14.1% to 22.1%.

New residents were also more likely to take nine or more prescription medications, reported Amy T. Hsu, Ph.D., from The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. 

The most prevalent conditions among these residents included hypertension, osteoarthritis and dementia, and the proportion of incoming residents with dementia increased from 42.3% to 54.1% during the study period. New residents were also more likely to have extensive physical and cognitive impairments at the time of admission.

Full findings were published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.