The Vulnerable Elders-13 Survey Predicts 5-Year Functional Decline and Mortality Outcomes in Older Ambulatory Care Patients

Published In: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 57, no. 11, Nov. 2009, p. 2070-2076

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Lillian Min, William Yoon, Jeff Mariano, Neil S. Wenger, Marc N. Elliott, Caren Kamberg, Debra Saliba

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OBJECTIVES: To test the predictive properties of the Vulnerable Elders-13 Survey (VES-13) a short tool that predicts functional decline and mortality over a 1- to 2-year follow-up interval over a 5-year interval. DESIGN: Longitudinal evaluation with mean follow-up of 4.5 years. SETTING: Two managed-care organizations. PARTICIPANTS: Six hundred forty-nine community-dwelling older adults (> or = 75) enrolled in the Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders observational study who screened positive for symptoms of falls or fear of falling, bothersome urinary incontinence, or memory problems. MEASUREMENTS: VES-13 score (range 1-10, higher score indicates worse prognosis), functional decline (decline in count of 5 activities of daily living or nursing home entry), and deaths. RESULTS: Higher VES-13 scores were associated with greater predicted probability of death and decline in older patients over a mean observation period of 4.5 years. For each additional VES-13 point, the odds of the combined outcome of functional decline or death was 1.37 (95% confidence interval (CI)=1.25-1.50), and the area under the receiver operating curve was 0.75 (95% CI=0.71-0.80). In the Cox proportional hazards model predicting time to death, the hazard ratio was 1.23 (95% CI=1.19-1.27) per additional VES-13 point. CONCLUSION: This study extends the utility of the VES-13 to clinical decisions that require longer-term prognostic estimates of functional status and survival.

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