Classification trees for decision making in long-term care

Maria Quartararo*, Paul Glasziou, Charles B. Kerr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The purpose of the study was to develop a classification tool predicting a requirement for nursing home care in a population of nursing home applicants. In long-term care services, the objectives of classification mechanisms will include the prevention of inappropriate nursing home admission. Method. We studied 295 nursing home applicants residing in the Lower North Shore Area of Sydney, a high socioeconomic status area of Sydney, Australia. The predictor variables examined included: demographic data, social work assessment data, the presence of dementia and incontinence, the Barthel Index of Activities of Daily Living, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Results. Classification analysis using the C4.5 Program resulted in several classification trees for a decision for nursing home care with sensitivities greater than 70%. The best classification tree was one which combined the scores of the Barthel Index and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Conclusion. Classification trees in their simplicity of design and application have advantages over other analytical methods of classification. Classification analysis and the trees examined in this study may have future useful application in decision making for long-term care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)M298-M302
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes


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