Anemia Evaluation and Management in Nursing Home Residents

 Anemia is often an unrecognized and/or undertreated diagnosis in older adults. Failure to diagnose anemia leads to delayed treatment and thus delayed relief of symptoms. Given the potentially significant impact of anemia on cardiovascular disease and physical performance among older nursing home (NH) residents, it is important to evaluate current clinical practice related to anemia.The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to evaluate the frequency of laboratory evaluation and medication treatment for anemia among older NH residents. Results indicated that more than half of NH residents were anemic at baseline, and of those, less than 20% had additional testing done to further evaluate for an underlying cause of their anemia and only 45.3% received any pharmacologic treatment. Future research is needed to clarify the potential benefits of timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment for anemic older adults in long-term-care settings and establish evidence-based guidelines to direct care in this area.