Adult protective service use and nursing home placement

Gerontologist. 2002 Dec;42(6):734-9. doi: 10.1093/geront/42.6.734.


Purpose: Adult Protective Services (APS) is the official state entity charged with advocacy for older adults who are victims of elder abuse or self-neglect. However, it has been speculated that APS intervention may lead disproportionately to nursing home placement (NHP). These analyses seek to determine if APS use is an independent risk factor for NHP.

Design and methods: The sample was 2,812 community-dwelling older adults who were aged 65 years or older in 1982 in the New Haven Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies in the Elderly cohort, a subset of whom were referred to elder protective services over a 9-year follow-up period from cohort inception. NHP of cohort members over that time period was determined.

Results: Rates of subsequent NHP were: 69.2% for self-neglecting subjects, 52.3% for mistreated subjects, and 31.8% for subjects who had no contact with APS (p <.001, both comparisons). In proportional hazard models that included other demographic, medical, functional, and social factors associated with NHP, the strongest risk factors for placement were APS referral for self-neglect (hazard ratio [HR], 5.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.07-6.72), and for elder mistreatment (HR, 4.02; 95% CI, 2.50-6.47). These hazards far exceeded those for other medical, functional, and social factors.

Implications: APS use is an independent risk factor for nursing home placement; persons identified by APS as self-neglecting are at the highest risk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Elder Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services
  • Homes for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Work / statistics & numerical data