Nursing homes are becoming de facto mental health providers

Some nursing homes are caring for more behavioral health patients and fewer seniors, including several in St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported March 28.

The average age of nursing home residents has fallen by nearly a decade, from 78 in 2000 to 69 in 2020, according to a Service Employees International Union white paper.

The shift is frustrating some nursing home workers, who say they lack the tools and knowledge to deal with behavioral issues, the report said. Some said their training does not match their new patient population.

Over the course of the pandemic, seniors have grown more likely to instead live with support at home, the report said. Seniors have recently begun to return to nursing homes, but the trend is a slow one.

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