U.S. long-term care facilities in socially isolated neighborhoods are associated with increased risk of 30-day all-cause mortality among residents, according to the results of a cross-sectional study published by JAMA Network Open.

And LTC facilities in the United States are approximately eight times more likely to be in socially isolated neighborhoods, meaning that there is a higher percentage of individuals aged 65 or more years living alone compared with neighborhoods with the lowest percentage. 

Those two findings combined, according to the study authors, suggest a need for special attention and strategies to keep LTC residents connected to their family and friends for optimal health.

The study included 730,524 LTC residents from 14,224 LTC facilities in 8,652 ZIP code tabulation areas, or ZCTA, in the United States in 2011. A nationwide LTC database with ZCTA data was linked to population-level geographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Statistical analysis spanned January 2019 to December 2020.