SNF need greater than thought

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Americans have a higher probability of needing skilled nursing care than previously thought, according to new research.

The figure could be as high as 60% greater, said RAND Corporation researchers.

Well over half (56%) of adults now between ages 57 and 61 will eventually require a skilled nursing facility stay, study authors said. Previous studies based on government data estimated the percentage as closer to 35%.

The higher projection could be due to a trend toward shorter nursing facility stays, many of which are driven by earlier hospital discharges.

The study also found that short nursing home stays (of 21 nights or fewer) increased by six percentage points from 1998 to 2010, to almost 34%.

Study results appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.