Low-scoring SNFs more likely to accept bariatric residents

Zhang: SNFs may need modifications to care for obese residents
Zhang: SNFs may need modifications to care for obese residents

Obese nursing home residents are more likely to be admitted to poor quality facilities with high numbers of deficiencies, according to research from the University of Massachusetts.

Nursing homes may be put off from admitting obese residents by the costs of accommodating them, wrote lead researcher Ning Zhang, Ph.D. 

“To provide care for obese residents, [facilities] may need to invest in modifying their physical environments by providing extra space, wider doors and larger bathrooms, in addition to acquiring specialized equipment,” Zhang wrote. “Moreover, obese residents may require higher levels of staff effort.”

The study's findings raise the issue of how to ensure obese seniors have equal access to quality nursing homes, the researchers noted.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 160,000 people aged 65 and older who were admitted to New York nursing homes in 2006 and 2007. That data was then compared with the deficiency citations at those facilities.

The findings showed that 22% of seniors admitted to nursing homes were obese. Close to 4% of those were morbidly obese. This population was more likely to be admitted to nursing homes that displayed poor quality and a higher number of deficiencies, researchers found. 

Results of the study were published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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