Research Shows Growing Prevalence of Diabetes in America’s Nursing Homes

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Washington, D.C. – One in four nursing home residents over 65 had diabetes and was at an increased risk for conditions affecting their quality of life, according to new research report from the Institute for the Future of Aging Services (IFAS).

The IFAS report is an analysis of data from the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, which includes data representing America’s 1.32 million nursing home residents over 65. It is the most recent and complete picture of diabetes among U.S. nursing home residents.

Using the data, IFAS researchers revealed the extent of diabetes in America’s nursing homes. Approximately 25 percent of all nursing home residents over 65 had diabetes as a primary diagnosis at admission or as a current diagnosis at the time of the survey. Non-white residents were twice as likely to have diabetes as white residents. Diabetic residents were also younger than their non-diabetic counterparts. The prevalence of diabetes in U.S. nursing homes was higher in 2004 compared to previous years.

Researchers also found commonalities among diabetic residents that could affect the care and services they need. Compared with non-diabetics, diabetic residents are more likely to:

Be admitted from acute care hospitals
Have shorter average lengths of stay
Take more medications
Be admitted to nursing homes with circulatory problems

Diabetic residents were also 56 percent more likely to have a pressure ulcer at the time of the admittance and were also more likely to have had an emergency room visit in the previous 90 days.

“Providers should review this research and use it as basis for ensuring they meet their diabetic residents’ unique needs,” Helaine Resnick, PhD, director of research at IFAS said. “Diabetes is enormously prevalent in nursing home residents and requires special clinical attention to ensure the best possible outcomes.”

The research was published in the February 2008 issue of Diabetes Care. The report is available on the IFAS Web site at

About IFAS
The Institute for the Future of Aging Services ( is a policy research institute whose mission is to create a bridge between the practice, policy and research communities to advance the development of high-quality health, housing and supportive services for America’s aging population. IFAS has three signature areas: advancing quality of aging services, developing a quality workforce and enhancing residential options for older adults. IFAS is the applied research arm of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging ( AAHSA members serve two million people every day through mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations dedicated to providing the services people need, when they need them, in the place they call home. AAHSA’s commitment is to create the future of aging services through quality people can trust.

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