Associations between unmet palliative care needs and cognitive impairment in a sample of diverse, community-based older adults

Elissa Kozlov, Matthew J. Wynn, M. Carrington Reid, Charles R. Henderson, Xin Qi Dong, Jo Anne Sirey

Publication Date: 06/25/2020

Objective: Given a large number of community-based older adults with mild cognitive impairment, it is essential to better understand the relationship between unmet palliative care (PC) needs and mild cognitive impairment in community-based samples.

Method: Participants consisted of adults ages 60+ receiving services at senior centers located in New York City. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and the Unmet Palliative Care Needs screening tool were used to assess participants’ cognitive status and PC needs.

Results: Our results revealed a quadratic relationship between unmet PC needs and mild cognitive impairment, controlling for gender, living status, and age. Participants with either low or high MoCA scores reported lower PC needs than participants with average MoCA scores, mean difference of the contrast (low and high vs. middle) = 2.15, P = 0.08.

Significance of results: This study is a first step toward elucidating the relationship between cognitive impairment and PC needs in a diverse community sample of older adults. More research is needed to better understand the unique PC needs of older adults with cognitive impairment living in the community.