Mental Health May Affect a San Clemente Nursing Home Resident’s Ability to Find a Top-Quality Facility

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200When you have an elderly loved one with mental health issues in San Clemente, it can be difficult to find a skilled nursing facility that can provide the type of care, as well as the quality of care, that your family member needs. Having a loved one with a mental health issue can mean that she or he may be more vulnerable to nursing home abuse or neglect, or at least the ability to identify and properly report it. As such, it is often particularly important for families searching for nursing homes for a loved one with a mental illness to find a facility with high marks and a history of quality care.

According to a recent article from Reuters Health, “even people with common and often treatable mental health problems like depression and anxiety may have a harder time than patients without these diagnoses getting admitted to a high-quality nursing home.” How does an elderly patient’s mental health impact his or her ability to get accepted into a particular nursing home or assisted-living facility?

Study Says Nursing Homes With High Ratings May be Less Likely to Accept Patients With History of Mental Health Problems

The article cites a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. In conducting the research, the scholars involved in the study assessed data from “more than 3.7 million admissions to 15,600 facilities nationwide from 2012 to 2014.” By the time of the final year of the study, the researchers concluded that “people with depression and anxiety were 8% less likely to gain admission to a nursing home with the highest Medicare quality rating of five stars than individuals without mental health problems.” In other words, a person’s chances of being admitted to a high-quality nursing home decline when they have a history of depression.

The odds worsen for other types of mental health diseases and disorders. For patients with a history of bipolar disorder, they were 11% less likely than patients without a history of mental health issues to be admitted to a facility rated with five stars by Medicare. When it comes to substance abuse problems, the odds decline by 27%. For patients with a history of schizophrenia, the chances drop by 28%. When an elderly patient has a history of personality disorders, the likelihood of being admitted to a top facility, compared with a patient with no history of mental illness, drops by 32%. According to Helena Temkin-Greener, the lead author of the study, “it appears that nursing homes shy away from accepting patients diagnosed with any behavioral health conditions.”

Approximately Half of All Nursing Home Patients in the Country Have Behavioral Health Issues

An article in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry notes that approximately 50% of all nursing home patients have a history of behavioral health problems, and that percentage does not even include patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Knowing those figures, and also knowing that top-quality skilled nursing facilities are less likely to admit patients with mental health problems, allows us to surmise than many of the five-star facilities are not accessible to some of the patients most in need.

Not only are patients with mental health problems more likely to be denied admittance to a top facility, but they are also more likely to end up in a one-star facility, according to the researchers. To be clear, a skilled nursing facility that receives only one star from the Medicare ratings is at the very bottom in terms of quality. Patients in one-star facilities may be more likely to suffer harm as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Seek Advice from a San Clemente Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about an elderly loved one’s health or safety, an experienced San Clemente nursing home abuse attorney can help you. Contact the Walton Law Firm to discuss your case.

See Related Blog Posts:

How Corporate Interests Affect Nursing Home Neglect Cases

Teaching Seniors in Encinitas to Avoid Injuries in Falls

(image courtesy of Jorge Lopez)

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