Profiling the Characteristics of People Who Are Comatose in Long-term and Complex Continuing Care Settings Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: To describe the sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment characteristics of people who are comatose in Canadian complex continuing care (CCC) and long-term care (LTC) settings, and to make recommendations to promote comprehensive care planning for this population. DESIGN: Retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of population data. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: All residents in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, and the territory of Yukon with data available from the fiscal year 2015 (April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016). MEASURES: Demographic, clinical, and treatment variables were extracted from the Resident Assessment Instrument-Minimum Data Set (MDS 2.0) and were reported using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Of the LTC and CCC populations, 0.07% and 3.5% were identified as comatose, respectively. Overall, people who are comatose in both CCC or LTC settings are younger and have a longer length of stay than those who are not comatose. A higher proportion of people who are comatose experience active infections and irregular bowel elimination patterns, and those who are comatose were more likely to have a feeding tube and require oxygen therapy or suctioning than those who were not comatose. However, a lower proportion of people who were comatose had documented pain. In LTC, one-quarter of people who are comatose are expected to die within 6 months. CONCLUSION/IMPLICATIONS: Although the prevalence of people who are comatose in LTC and CCC settings is low, this population is complex and has significant care needs that require comprehensive assessment and care planning.


  • McArthur, Caitlin
  • Saari, Margaret
  • Northwood, Melissa
  • Taucar, Linda Sheiban
  • Boscart, Veronique M

publication date

  • October 2019