Report: Facilities grew in size, number of residents from 1977 to 1999

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As nursing homes have grown in size so has the overall number of residents. But residents are staying for a shorter length of time than they used to and more are getting discharged.

That, according to a new report entitled "Nursing Homes, 1977-99: What Has Changed, What Has Not?" Derived from an analysis of data from the 1977, 1985 and 1999 National Nursing Home Surveys, the report concludes there have been major changes in the role of nursing homes over the two decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics conducted the analysis.

Some of the facts: The number of residents receiving care in facilities nationwide on any given day increased 27% to 1.63 million in 1999 from 1.28 million in 1977. During the same period, the average number of beds per facility increased by 32%. There were 105 beds per facility among the 18,000 facilities in 1999 compared to 79 beds per facility out of a total of 16,200 units previously.

Data also showed that the rate of discharge has accelerated. The discharge rate increased by 56% -- from 86 per 100 nursing home beds in 1977 to 134 per 100 beds in 1999. This information reflects the growth in Medicare – the predominant payer of short-term post-acute care -- as a payer.

Also, the rate of discharge attributed to residents with stays less than there months doubled between 1977 and 1999, to 92 per 100 beds in 1999, up from 46 discharges per 100 beds in 1977. For more information, go to  HYPERLINK "http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nnhsd/NursingHomes1977_99.pdf" http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nnhsd/NursingHomes1977_99.pdf