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The Impact of Mental Illness on Nursing Home Care

Chris Murray
Posted on: October 10, 2018 by Chris Murray

In the United States, it is estimated that there are over 15,000 nursing homes and long-term care facilities in operation. As of 2014, when statistics on the nursing home industry were collected, 1.4 million people received care at these facilities. Elderly patients with a wide range of abilities, illnesses, and needs rely on nursing home facilities for compassionate, safe care. Facilities must manage their patient populations and their risks with several strategies, including nursing home insurance to protect their assets, staff, and patients from the losses associated with liability. When psychological and cognitive health concerns in patients arise, the role of these facilities is made more complicated. In conjunction with World Mental Health Day, we will take a deeper look into the factors that nursing homes face when providing care to those patients with mental health issues.

Mental Illness and Nursing Homes: The Facts

Patients seeking nursing home care have many hurdles to overcome, regardless of their underlying health conditions. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are turning away patients with mental health issues. The more severe the condition, the less likely patients were to be accepted for care. Researchers conducted a data analysis based on 3.7 million admissions to the long-term care facilities in the U.S. between 2012 and 2014 and found that:

  • People with anxiety and depression disorders were 8% less likely to be accepted for care in a nursing home.
  • Patients with bipolar disorder were 11% less likely to be admitted to a five-star facility (based on the rating system developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) than patients without mental health conditions.
  • For patients with schizophrenia or a history of substance abuse, the odds were even lower; patients were 27-28% less likely to be admitted to a nursing home facility for care.

When patients are rejected from nursing homes, this often leaves them with nowhere to turn for help. This can create a significant burden on communities throughout the United States, requiring intervention by health and human services agencies as well as medical facilities un- or under-equipped to provide long-term care for at-risk patients.

In some facilities, “problem” patients or those with severe mental health issues may be kept under control by the use of powerful psychotropic medications. This “chemical restraint” can open the door to serious liability issues, and have resulted in numerous lawsuits and citations by elderly affairs organizations.

The Role of Nursing Home Insurance

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities owe their patients a safe, comfortable place to receive care. Elderly people with severe physical or mental illnesses may represent significant risks to care facilities, and in order to mitigate some of those risks, nursing home insurance is part of a broader risk management solution that also includes compassionate care policies. With the right insurance solutions in place, nursing home facilities can protect their staff, their financial assets, and their patients from the losses associated with liability claims.

About Caitlin Morgan

Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at 877.226.1027.

Posted in: blog Nursing Home