Residential Care for the Elderly: Critical Issues in Public Policy

By Sharon A. Baggette | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Characteristics of Residential Care Facility Residents: An Exploratory Analysis

The demand for residential care services in recent decades has spurred tremendous growth in these care alternatives, yet little is known about the older persons who reside in these settings. That is, scant attention has been paid to discerning the types and levels of their impairment. Current regulations and types of care provided evolve without this critical information.

In general, the available literature describes the population as similar to that of nursing homes. The residents tend to be older than the general elderly segment of the population and more likely to be female. These factor's alone do not indicate the types of impairment in this population or provide insight into the service needs of these individuals. Only the recent article by Mor et al. ( 1986) has attempted to assess more clearly the characteristics and needs of this population.

This chapter analyzes research conducted in one residential care facility in an attempt to describe in greater detail the characteristics and care needs of this population. The research reported here is not meant to be a definitive analysis of residential care. Nor does it provide the depth of analysis needed to compare residential populations across the states. It was undertaken as an exploratory analysis and is useful as an example of the types of research that are needed in this field.


CONCEPTUALIZATION

In the literature on the variety of long-term care services, surprisingly few articles are available. Of these, a dozen or so dealt with the variables associated with the decision to place an older person in a nursing home; many were anecdotal. From these studies it is possible to identify some basic factors that

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