Research Suggests Top 5 Reasons for Nursing Home Placement

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Placing a loved one in a nursing home is a truly personal and difficult decision. In 2012, there were about nine million American seniors who needed nursing home care according to a report by Morningstar. This number is expected to rise to as much as 12 million by the year 2020. What makes this troubling is that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that as of 2014, there were only about 1.7 million licensed nursing beds in the U.S. Many seniors who desperately need long-term care end up finding other, sometimes inadequate options, given a lack of money or nearby resources.

Interestingly, demographics and other external factors play a role in determining who will need nursing home care. With this in mind, 2006 research published in the Gerontologist, suggests the top five reasons why people actually end up needing a nursing home. The results may not be what you’d expect.

The Study

According to the study published by Gwendolen T. Buhr, MD, Maragatha Kuchibhatla, PhD, and Elizabeth C. Clipp, R.N., Ph.D., a sample of 2200 caregivers offered some real insights into the reasons by nursing home placements. Of course, we should start by explaining that the sample included caregivers of seniors already diagnosed with dementia. Therefore, the results may vary for seniors with no mental incapacity issues.

Reason #1: Caregiver Can’t Provide the Level of Care Needed

The most common reason for nursing home placement was that caregivers felt they could not offer the care needed. Accounting for those with multiple responses, the study showed that 65 percent of respondents felt this was at least one of the factors that led them to place their loved one in a nursing home.

Reason #2: Caregiver’s Poor Health

The next most common reason was caregiver health. In fact, 49 percent of respondents reported that their own deteriorating health led them to place a loved one in a facility.  

Reason #3: Difficult Behavior of the Senior / Mental Health

The study suggested that as much as 46 percent of those surveyed felt that the senior’s behavior was a factor in the decision. Of course, this may or may not hold true in cases where dementia is not involved. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize that providing long-term personal and medical care for an aging adult with serious emotional, medical and psychological needs can take a serious toll on family caregivers, even without the added challenges of dementia. This is often referred to as “caregiver stress,” and it affects many who are caring for aging loved ones.

Reason #4: Moral Reasons / Peer Pressure

The study also revealed just how susceptible people are to peer pressure. Indeed, about 37 percent of those surveyed responded that others had at some point expressed to them that it was “the best thing to do.”  This indicates that some degree of moral peer pressure may induce caregivers to place loved ones in a nursing home.

Reason #5: Caregiver Couldn’t Get Needed Help or Resources

Finally, the study explained that 23 percent said they simply could not get the help they needed. With access to nursing homes being limited in some areas, especially in rural communities, often families with limited financial resources are forced to place their loved ones because they simply lack the help they need.

Myrtle Beach and Low Country Nursing Home Injuries

As hard as it is to put a loved one in a nursing home, it can be devastating when that loved one is abused or allowed to suffer neglect. Throughout South Carolina’s low country, including all of Charleston and Myrtle Beach, David Aylor Law Offices represents injured nursing home residents and their families. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, and you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, call or visit us online to schedule a free consultation today.

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