Medication Regimen Complexity In 8 Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities: Impact Of Age, Length Of Stay, Comorbidity, Frailty, And Dependence In Activities Of Daily Living

Esa Chen, J. Simon Bell, Jenni Ilomaki, Claire Keen, Megan Corlis, Michelle E Hogan, Jan Van Emden, Sarah N Hilmer, Janet Sluggett

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Objective: To explore variation in medication regimen complexity in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) according to resident age, length of stay, comorbidity, dementia severity,frailty, and dependence in activities of daily living (ADLs), and compare number of daily administration times and Medication Regimen Complexity Index (MRCI) as measures of regimen complexity.
Methods: This study was a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the SImplification of Medications Prescribed to Long-tErm care Residents (SIMPLER) cluster-randomized controlled trial. The SIMPLER study recruited 242 residents with at least one medication charted for regular administration from 8 RACFs in South Australia. Comorbidity was assessed using the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). Dementia severity was assessed using the Dementia Severity Rating Scale. Frailty was assessed using the FRAIL-NHscale. Dependence in ADLs was assessed using the Katz ADL scale.
Results: The median age of participants was 87 years (interquartile range 81–92). Over one-third of participants (n=86, 36%) had 5 or more daily medication administration times. The number of daily administration times and MRCI scores were positively correlated with resident length of stay (rs=0.19; 0.27), FRAIL-NH score (rs=0.23; 0.34) and dependence in ADLs (rs=−0.21; −0.33) (all p<0.01). MRCI was weakly negatively correlated with CCI score (rs=−0.16; p=0.013). Neither number of daily administration times nor MRCI score were correlated with age or dementia severity. In multivariate analysis, frailty was associated with number of daily administration times (OR: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.03–1.24) and MRCI score(OR: 1.26, 95% CI: 1.13–1.41). Dementia severity was inversely associated with both number of daily administration times (OR: 0.97, 95% CI: 0.94–0.99) and MRCI score(OR: 0.95, 95% CI: 0.92–0.98).
Conclusion: Residents with longer lengths of stay, more dependent in ADLs and most frail 30 had the most complex medication regimens and, therefore, may benefit from targeted strategies to reduce medication regimen complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1783-1795
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2019


  • Activities of daily living
  • Aged
  • Frailty index
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Medication regimen complexity
  • Multimorbidity
  • Nursing homes

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