When we think of a nursing home, most of us will conjure images of elderly people battling things like Alzheimer’s and dementia or other end-stage illnesses. While that may be the case for some nursing patients, it is certainly not the case for the majority. In fact, a recent study signals that many nursing homes are experiencing a rise in shorter-term care as well as a rise in the need for more acute care. McKnights reports on the findings of the study.
The study, performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation confirms what many nursing home facilities are experiencing. While the number of patients overall is decreasing, patients are now arriving in much worse shape.
By 2016, patients with dementia represented about half of the resident population. Further, two of every three residents is taking some form of psychoactive medications. These can range from antipsychotics to hypnotics to antidepressants.
Another factor is emerging onto the nursing home scene: a shift to shorter-term care.
Many nursing facilities are now seeing a growth in the post-acute care sector of the industry. This fact may mean more new arrivals, but it also means shorter-term stays, often just a few days rather than a few weeks or months.
This may be putting stress on the directors and staff of such facilities. They are now focusing on quantity over quality in some cases. They need to admit many more patients than ever before and get them out the door as quick as possible.
The other side of the coin is that where long-term care is needed, those patients are now taking up more skilled nursing time than ever. Many patients are averaging 4.1 nursing hours a day, which can stress a system that may be having to decide whether to go for quality or quantity.