The trend of “population mixing” in nursing homes is on the rise as more young people with brain injuries and mental illnesses are being placed in facilities intended to serve an elderly population. Unfortunately, for young patients in need of long-term skilled nursing care who rely on Medicaid and other government funding for health care, placement in a nursing home is often the only available option. This is because there are few remaining facilities specifically designed for patients with mental illnesses or brain injuries.
Although “population mixing” in nursing homes has been occurring for some time, the recent increase is linked to a spike in resident-to-resident altercations (“RRAs”). RRAs are most common in nursing homes with shared rooms and pose a significant risk to elderly patients who are involved in an altercation with younger, more physically able patients. In order to decrease the incidence of RRAs between young, able-bodied patients and physically vulnerable elderly patients, experts opine that it is necessary to increase government funding for mental health facilities so as to provide better treatment options for young patients. Nursing home could then be dedicated to care for the elderly populations they were designed to serve.