Nursing home study finds that short-term care is on the rise in New York state
Nursing home study finds that short-term care is on the rise in New York stateMarch 28, 2008Jill Leonhardtjlleonha@maxwell.syr.edu
A new report on New York state nursing homes finds that short-term stays in these facilities have tripled in the past decade and residents are increasingly more cognitively impaired. The study, “Changes in Nursing Home Care, 1996-2005: New York State,” was conducted by Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Public Administration Professor of Practice Tom Dennison and looks at the changing role of nursing homes as a part of the medical care delivery system since the mid ’90s.
According to the report, the typical patient is younger than a decade ago, and nursing homes are playing a more active role for people recuperating after a hospital stay and a smaller role as a long-term care option. This movement toward short-term care reflects a national trend and is partially in response to financial pressures on hospitals to decrease the length of stay for patients and in part to decreased demand for long-term care beds as other options — including in-home care — have become more available. “It’s good to see people living longer in their own homes and using nursing homes to help them get better and return to their lives in the community,” Dennison says. “However it’s become increasingly difficult to meet the differing demands of short-term and long-term residents at the same time.”
Dennison also finds that admitted patients are increasingly covered by Medicare and private insurance. Medicare admissions more than doubled from 1996 to 2005, and private insurance admissions tripled. Still, Medicaid accounts for almost 70 percent of nursing home revenue in New York.
Additionally, Dennison notes that both short- and long-term care patients are becoming increasingly difficult to care for. They have higher levels of functional disability, more diagnoses and more need for medications and therapies. Nearly two-thirds of long-stay residents are cognitively impaired and almost half are diagnosed with anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disease or schizophrenia. More than 30 percent of short-term patients are diagnosed with similar disorders.
This report was funded by the Medicaid Institute at the United Hospital Fund, an organization working to improve the Medicaid program in New York. Data for the study were drawn from cost reports filed with the New York State Department of Health by each nursing home for the years 1996 through 2005, as well as information from the New York State Minimum Data Set (MDS) for 2000 through 2006 in order to profile residents of nursing homes.
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