Springer Nature

Who lives in care homes in Greenland? A nationwide survey of demographics, functional level, medication use and comorbidities

Posted on 2021-09-19 - 03:12
Abstract Background Greenland is facing an ageing population, and little is known about the characteristics of the elderly population in Greenland. This study offers both a comparison and a description of the demographics, causes of admission, comorbidities and medication of the residents in care homes in the capital, major and minor towns in four of the five administrative regions of Greenland. Methods The study was conducted from 2010 to 2016 as a descriptive questionnaire-based cross-sectional study. Data from eligible residents from eight care homes were collected from the regular care staff. Data were categorised into three groups based on town size for analysis. Results 244 (100 %) of eligible residents participated in the study. Nearly 100 % were of Greenlandic ethnicity based on parents’ place of birth, and 62 % were women. The median age at admission/study was 69/71 years for men and 77/79 years for women (both p = 0.001). The median Body Mass Index was 25.6 kg/m2, more than half of the population were previous- or never-smokers and less than ten per cent consumed more than ten drinks of alcohol per week. The most common causes of admission were dementia (25.4 %), stroke (19.3 %) and social causes (11.1 %), while stroke (30.7 %), dementia (29.5 %) and musculoskeletal diseases (25.8 %) were the most common diagnoses at the time of the study. The Barthel Index was used to estimate the residents’ level of independence, and residents in smaller towns were found to have a higher level of independence than residents in the capital. The median number of prescribed medications was five, and more residents in the capital were prescribed more than ten medications than elsewhere in Greenland. Conclusions This study is the first to describe care home residents in Greenland. We found a population younger than residents in comparable Danish care homes and that women were older than men at admission. In addition, care home residents in the capital had a lower level of independence and a higher number of prescribed medications, which could relate to differences in morbidity, access to health care services and differences in social circumstances influencing the threshold for care home admission.


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