JAMDA Highlights| Volume 24, ISSUE 2, P22, March 2023

Natural Disasters May Increase Nursing Home Admissions

        Older adults who experience natural disasters such as floods are more likely to be admitted to nursing homes (NHs) than unaffected individuals, a retrospective cohort study in Japan found.
        Using a public database of enrollees in long-term care insurance, Daisuke Miyamori, MD, MPH, PhD, of Hiroshima University Hospital, identified individuals from three prefectures most affected by the 2018 Japan Floods, which may have been the worst floods in the country’s history. The individuals chosen had been using long-term care services such as home visits, daycare, or short-term care services when the floods occurred, but they were not NH residents.
        The researchers found that 239 of 2,156 individuals affected by the floods and 6,184 of 185,705 individuals who were not affected went into NHs within six months after the floods. After adjusting for other risk factors, the researchers found that the individuals affected by the flooding were “3.2 times more likely to be admitted to NHs than those who were unaffected.”
        The researchers also found that the high-risk individuals included those with higher eating dependence, who may have relied on caregivers before the disaster, and those in the younger age category of older adults.
        The researchers offered several possible explanations for the higher NH admittance: the impact of the disaster on daily activities and overall health, including reduced access to necessary care services; increased physical stress, decreased mental activity, and social isolation, which may impact cognitive function; and displacement from previous places of residence.
        With global climate change likely to cause increased flooding risks, the researchers said, health professionals and policy-makers must prepare for the greater need for NH care likely to follow.
        Source: Miyamori D, et al. How the 2018 Japan Floods Impacted Nursing Home Admissions for Older Persons: A Longitudinal Study Using the Long-Term Care Insurance Comprehensive Database [published online: December 29, 2022]. J Am Med Dir Assoc. DOI: