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Direct-Care Staffing Hours Lower in Nursing Homes With More Mental Illness

June 03, 2020

Nursing homes with larger proportions of residents with serious mental illness differ from other nursing homes in terms of facility characteristics, staffing, and care practices, according to a study published online in The Gerontologist

“As the serious mental illness population in nursing homes continues to grow, a large number of residents have concentrated in a few nursing homes,” researchers wrote. 

The study compared 14,460 nursing homes in the continental United States to see how facility characteristics, staffing, and quality stars differed with proportion of residents with mental illness.  

Nursing homes in the highest quartile for proportion of residents with serious mental illness reported fewer direct-care staffing hours and more residents covered by Medicaid compared with other nursing homes, according to the study. They were also more likely to be for-profit facilities and scored lower on all Nursing Home Compare star ratings. 

“While further research is needed to understand the implications of these trends, public policymakers and nursing home providers need to be aware of this population’s unique—and potentially unmet—needs,” researchers wrote. 

Jolynn Tumolo


Jester DJ, Hyer K, Bowblis JR. Quality Concerns in Nursing Homes That Serve Large Proportions of Residents With Serious Mental Illness [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 31]. Gerontologist. 2020;gnaa044. doi:10.1093/geront/gnaa044

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