Greater numbers of older disabled Americans are choosing assisted living or continuing care retirement communities over nursing homes, but have higher rates of hospitalization, a new report says.

Approximately 38% of older Americans with moderate to severe disabilities live in nursing homes, compared to 58% who choose community settings such as assisted living, domiciliary, or continuing care retirement facilities, according to a study released by Avalere Health and The SCAN Foundation.

However, when community residents and nursing home residents with similar levels of disabilities were compared, 21% of the community residents had two or more hospital stays one year compared to 12% of the nursing home cohort. The study looked at data for the year 2006.

Investigators say the disparity suggests that community-based disabled individuals lack access to the level of care management that nursing home residents have.

Anne Tumlinson, Avalere’s senior vice president, says nursing homes play a big role in managing costs for older disabled individuals.

“The good news for nursing homes is that there are opportunities for partnerships in their communities to help manage costs for this group,” Tumlinson told McKnight’s. “We need to be more actively managing the costs, regardless of where they live.”