Study: Do-not-hospitalize orders rarely used, but can cut unnecessary hospital stays for SNF residents

Share this content:

Do-not-hospitalize orders help reduce the number of hospital stays and emergency department visits for nursing home residents, but they are used by a relatively small portion of the population, according to a new study.

Researchers with Rutgers University and State University of New York at Albany analyzed data for more than 6,000 nursing home residents to determine the impact of DNH orders. Their findings showed 61% of residents had do-not-resuscitate orders and 12% had feeding restrictions, but just 6% had DNH orders.

Residents with DNH orders had significantly fewer unnecessary hospital stays and emergency department visits in their last 90 days of life than residents without them, the researchers reported in the May issue of JAMDA. The orders also helped reduce hospital stays for residents with dementia.

The findings suggest skilled nursing providers should encourage residents to complete DNH orders, researchers said, in order to “promote integration of the resident's values and goals in guiding care provision toward the end of life.”