Alcohol may be misused by residents in assisted living places

Research Activities, October 2012, No. 386

As baby boomers grow older, assisted living (AL) settings become more popular. AL facilities may allow alcohol use, including offering cocktail hours and letting residents keep alcohol in their rooms. However, a new study suggests that alcohol use is rather widespread and may be abused in AL facilities.

The researchers identified 832 nurse aides who indicated AL as a prior place of employment from a Pennsylvania nurse aide registry. Each filled out a questionnaire that included items related to alcohol use at their facilities, including evidence of misuse and abuse. The nurse aides believed that the majority of AL residents (69 percent) drank alcohol. Of these, a third (34 percent) of residents were considered by the nurse aides to drink on a daily basis. Also, 44 percent of the nurse aides suspected that some residents under their care made poor choices about alcohol, with 40 percent saying such use had a negative impact on residents' health. According to the researchers, AL facilities are faced with a dilemma. On one hand, they need to attract paying customers who may demand opportunities for drinking alcohol. At the same time, these facilities must ensure the health and safety of their residents.

The study's findings suggest the opportunity to implement prevention and screening programs at AL facilites and to offer detection and management training to nurse aides. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16547).

See "Alcohol misuse and abuse reported by nurse aides in assisted living," by Nicholas G. Castle, Ph.D., Laura M. Wagner, Ph.D., Jamie C. Ferguson-Rome M.H.A., and others, in Research on Aging 34(3), pp. 321-326, 2012.

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Current as of October 2012
Internet Citation: Alcohol may be misused by residents in assisted living places: Research Activities, October 2012, No. 386. October 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/oct12/1012RA23.html