We sought to understand the association between social vulnerability and the odds of long-term care (LTC) placement within 30 days of discharge following admission to an acute care facility and whether this association varied based on age, sex, or pre-admission frailty. Patients admitted to hospital with acute respiratory illness were enrolled in the Canadian Immunization Research Network’s Serious Outcomes Surveillance Network during the 2011/2012 influenza season. Participants (N = 475) were 65 years or older (mean = 78.6, SD = 7.9) and over half were women (58.9%). Incident LTC placement was rare (N = 15); therefore, we used penalized likelihood logistic regression analysis. Social vulnerability and frailty indices were built using a deficit accumulation approach. Social vulnerability interacted with frailty and age, but not sex. At age 70, higher social vulnerability was associated with lower odds of LTC placement at high levels of frailty (frailty index (FI) = 0.35; odds ratio (OR) = 0.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.09–0.94), but not at lower levels of frailty. At age 90, higher social vulnerability was associated with greater odds of LTC placement at lower levels of frailty (FI = 0.05; OR = 14.64, 95%CI = 1.55, 127.21 and FI = 0.15; OR = 7.26, 95%CI = 1.06, 41.84), but not at higher levels of frailty. Various sensitivity analyses yielded similar results. Although younger, frailer participants may need LTC, they may not have anyone advocating for them. In older, healthier patients, social vulnerability was associated with increased odds of LTC placement, but there was no difference among those who were frailer, suggesting that at a certain age and frailty level, LTC placement is difficult to avoid even within supportive social situations.
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