Nursing homes and assisted living communities are not prepared to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of severely obese (having a BMI of over 40) elderly applying for residency, according to a recent study. Along with the increased health risks that accompany this group, a majority of the expenses to provide the necessary care for these patients is not covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Without the funds to support the costly adaptations that the obese population require, the waitlist of severely obese residents trying to enter these facilities is growing, and many are hospital-bound until there is room for them.
Hospitals spend millions of dollars to accommodate this population, but they lack the programs, activities and community atmosphere of a nursing home or assisted living facility. State and federal intervention is needed to cover the costs of bariatric equipment and staff training required by law to house a severely obese resident.