Nursing Homes in U.S. Register a 41 % Increase in Occupancy

Nursing Homes

According to an Associated Press analysis more mentally ill people are beginning to move into nursing homes across the United States with Illinois ranking highest among the states in the number of mentally ill adults under age 65 living in nursing homes.

The new report was released through the Freedom of Information Act by the AP and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and it revealed that there was nearly a 41 % increase from 2002 in the number of young and middle-aged adults with serious mental illness lived in U. S. nursing homes last year. Currently the figure is nearly
125,000 while in 2002 it was 89,000 mentally ill people ages 22 to 64.

Illinois with 12,736 comes in at the top spot and a reason could possibly be as since 1980 seven state-run mental hospitals have shut down, leaving only 1,480 public hospital beds for mental patients and the nursing homes had to fill in the void when the hospitals closed.

The result has been a lot of stress on the nursing homes as well as acute bed shortage with traditional elderly nursing home patients housed beside younger, stronger mentally ill people with unfortunate results. States such as Vermont saw a 36% increase from 2002 to 2008 while in Illinois according to the nonprofit Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, Va. the state needs 6,279 beds to meet minimum treatment standards.

The U. S. has 1.4 million nursing home residents in with mentally ill patients making up a big number of them. State officials over the next five years during a federal demonstration project called "Money Follows the Person" hope to reduce 700 mentally ill people out of nursing homes. This option is being explored is to move those who can live independently into their own apartments.

Brenda Hampton, who oversees the program for the state Division of Mental Health said Federal Medicaid money now going to nursing homes will pay for support services to help the mentally ill succeed in their own apartments.