Association between reported elder abuse and rates of admission to skilled nursing facilities: findings from a longitudinal population-based cohort study

Gerontology. 2013;59(5):464-72. doi: 10.1159/000351338. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


Background: Elder abuse is common and is a frank violation of an older adult's fundamental rights to be safe and free of violence. Our prior study indicates elder abuse is independently associated with mortality. This study aims to quantify the relationship between overall elder abuse and specific subtypes of elder abuse and rate of admission to skilled nursing facilities (SNF).

Methods: A prospective population-based study conducted in Chicago of community-dwelling older adults who participated in the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP). Of the 6,674 participants in the CHAP study, 106 participants were reported to the social services agency for elder abuse. The primary predictor was elder abuse reported to the social services agency. The outcome of interest was the annual rate of admission to SNF obtained from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Poisson regression models were used to assess these longitudinal relationships.

Results: The average annual rate of SNF for those without elder abuse was 0.14 (0.58) and for those with elder abuse was 0.66 (1.63). After adjusting for sociodemographic and socioeconomic variables, medical comorbidities, cognitive and physical function, and psychosocial wellbeing, older adults who have been abused had higher rates of SNF admission (RR 4.60 (2.85-7.42)). Psychological abuse (RR 2.31 (1.17-4.56)), physical abuse (RR 2.36 (1.19-4.66)), financial exploitation (RR 2.81 (1.53-5.17)) and caregiver neglect (RR 4.73 (3.03-7.40)) were associated with increased rates of admission to SNF, after considering the same confounders. Elder abuse is associated with a higher rate of SNF stay longer than 30 days (RR 6.27 (3.68-10.69)).

Conclusion: Elder abuse was associated with increased rates of admission to SNF in this community population. Specific subtypes of elder abuse had a differential association with an increased rate of admission to SNF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology
  • Caregivers
  • Chicago
  • Cohort Studies
  • Elder Abuse* / classification
  • Elder Abuse* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities* / statistics & numerical data