Study: Nursing home residents in lower-staffed homes sleep too much

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Nursing home residents in homes with lower staffing levels spend too much time in bed -- 15 to 17 hours a day – leading to lower appetite and social isolation, according to a study in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Dr. Barbara M. Bates-Jensen, an adjunct assistant professor at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, and her colleagues studied 882 long-stay residents in 34 Southern California nursing homes.

They compared nursing homes with low staffing levels -- less than 3.4 staff hours per resident per day -- to nursing homes with the highest staffing levels -- more than 3.7 staff hours per resident per day. Residents in the lower-staffed facilities spent an average of five hours a day in bed compared with an average of three hours per day for residents in high-staffed nursing homes.

The study considered "day" from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Many nursing home residents are put to bed by 7 p.m. That means residents of low-staffed nursing homes could spend as much as an average of 17 hours a day in bed, the study said.