Nursing home suicide rates have not improved in 15 years

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While instances of suicide among community-dwelling seniors have fallen in recent years,the same has not been true for long-term care residents, according to a recent study.

University of Michigan researchers studied the rate of suicide among seniors aged 60 and over in New York City between 1990 and 2005. During that time, the relative rate of nursing home suicides did not decline. The most at-risk cohort were men between the ages of 60 and 69.

Many of the factors that predict admission to a nursing home, including depression, cognitive impairment and physical disability, are also factors that predict suicide, according to researchers. Efforts must be taken to address these factors, especially in light of the rapidly growing population of seniors who are likely to need skilled nursing care. The full results of the study are published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
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