Maine fared well in a national ranking for percentage increase and number of mentally ill people who lived in nursing homes between 2002 and 2008, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data.
During that period, Maine experienced a 26 percent increase in the number of mentally ill nursing home patients, ages 22 to 64. Only nine states and Puerto Rico had lower percentages, and Maine tied at 26 percent with California and New Mexico.
Maine’s numbers of mentally ill in nursing homes rose from 312 in 2002 to 394 in 2008, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The 394 mentally ill patients in nursing homes in 2008 also gave Maine a good rating, with only 10 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico recording smaller numbers.
Maine’s overall number of nursing home residents decreased from 6,795 in 2002 to 6,173 in 2008.
The AP’s analysis found that nationally, nearly 125,000 young and middle-aged adults with serious mental illness lived in nursing homes last year. That was a 41 percent increase from 2002, when nursing homes housed nearly 89,000 mentally ill people ages 22 to 64.
The situation has left traditional elderly nursing home patients housed with younger, stronger mentally ill people — and the results have sometimes been deadly.