Sleep disturbance patterns might predict long-term care facility placement, study reveals

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Older women with disturbed and fragmented sleep were three times more likely to be placed in a long-term care facility than elderly women with healthier sleep patterns, new research finds.

Using statistics from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, investigators studied data of older women who wore devices that monitored sleeping patterns for three days. Five years later, they observed that participants who spent the smallest proportion of their time in bed actually sleeping had about three times the odds of being placed in a nursing home.

The Johns Hopkins University researchers also observed similar patterns of associations between disturbed sleep and placement in assisted-living facilities.

"Despite the growing literature on sleep disturbance and disability, prior to our research very little was known about the association between sleep disturbance in older adults and risk of placement in long-term care facilities,” senior author, Kristine Yaffe, M.D., said.

The findings were published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The research was supported by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health.

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