City Research Online

Needs of older persons living in long-term care institutions: on the usefulness of cluster approach

Tobis, S., Jaracz, K., Kropińska, S. , Talarska, D., Hoe, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4647-8950, Wieczorowska-Tobis, K. & Suwalska, A. (2021). Needs of older persons living in long-term care institutions: on the usefulness of cluster approach. BMC Geriatrics, 21(1), 316. doi: 10.1186/s12877-021-02259-x


Long-term care units’ residents do not constitute a homogeneous population. Providing effective care, tailored to individual needs, is crucial in this context. It can be facilitated by suitable tools and methods, which include needs assessment along with the physical, psychological and social aspects of care. We thus applied a cluster approach to identify their putative groupings to enable the provision of tailored care.

The needs of 242 residents of care homes in four Polish cities (Poznan, Wroclaw, Bialystok and Lublin), aged 75–102 years (184 females), with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score ≥ 15 points, were assessed with the CANE (Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly) questionnaire. Their independence in activities of daily living was evaluated by the Barthel Index (BI), and symptoms of depression by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). The results of MMSE, BI and GDS were selected as variables for K-means cluster analysis.

Cluster 1 (C1), n = 83, included subjects without dementia according to MMSE (23.7 ± 4.4), with no dependency (BI = 85.8 ± 14.4) and no symptoms of depression (GDS = 3.3 ± 2.0). All subjects of cluster 2 (C2), n = 87, had symptoms of depression (GDS = 8.9 ± 2.1), and their MMSE (21.0 ± 4.0) and BI (79.8 ± 15.1) were lower than those in C1 (p = 0.006 and p = 0.046, respectively). Subjects of cluster 3 (C3), n = 72, had the lowest MMSE (18.3 ± 3.1) and BI (30.6 ± 18,8, p < 0.001 vs. C1 & C2). Their GDS (7.6 ± 2.3) were higher than C1 (p < 0.001) but lower than C2 (p < 0.001). The number of met needs was higher in C2 than in C1 (10.0 ± 3.2 vs 8.2 ± 2.7, p < 0.001), and in C3 (12.1 ± 3.1) than in both C1 and C2 (p < 0.001). The number of unmet needs was higher in C3 than in C1 (1.2 ± 1.5 vs 0.7 ± 1.0, p = 0.015). There were also differences in the patterns of needs between the clusters.

Clustering seems to be a promising approach for use in long-term care, allowing for more appropriate and optimized care delivery. External validation studies are necessary for generalized recommendations regarding care optimization in various regional perspectives.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. This article has been published in BMC Geriatrics, DOI:
Publisher Keywords: Needs, Care homes, Long-term care, Clusters, CANE
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

Download (583kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login