Residential facilities for older people in Italy: A five-region survey

Giovanni de Girolamo, Antonella Tempestini, Giulia Cavrini, Paolo Scocco, Paola Argentino, Stefano Federici, Paolo Putzu, Mario Zappia, Pierluigi Morosini, Isabella Cascavilla, Caterina Azzarito, Giacomo Brancati, Gianfranco Spalletta, Anna Calvaruso, Fabio Lucidi, Augusto Pasini, M. Zappia, R. Colao, G. Torchia, P. PutzuY. Arauyo, M. Malgarise, P. Argentino, S. Bonomo, S. Costanzo, S. Messina, C. Bonanni, I. Camilli, I. Cuccarini, F. De Biasi, M. Rapattoni, G. Fantoni, M. Galuppo, A. Sgadari, C. Caltagirone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: To survey all Residential Facilities (RFs) for older people (more than 50% residents over 65 years of age) in five Italian regions (Calabria, Sardinia, Sicily, Umbria, Veneto), and to evaluate their logistic and organizational characteristics and staff and resident features. Methods: Structured interviews with RF managers; selected RFs operating in five regions. Results: A total of 853 RFs were operating in the five regions, with an average of 198.0 beds per 10,000 older people - a rate showing marked regional variability. The number of RFs actually surveyed was 754 (88.4% of sample pool). The mean number of RF beds was 59.8 (±65.0; median: 34), and the great majority (96%) had 24-hour staff cover. A large proportion (29%) were managed by local municipal authorities, religious non-profit associations (approx. 24%) and other non-profit organizations (approx. 21%). In the RFs 24,456 workers were employed; the number of staff per facility also showed great variability. The mean number of workers directly involved in resident care was 27.8 (±39.0; range: 1-331); the median number of staff members was 14, and the resident/ staff ratio was 2.1. These 754 RFs hosted 42,687 residents, with an average of 53.5 (±58.5) older people in each facility, and 3.2 residents below the age of 65. The mean age of the entire resident sample was 79.3 years (±5.2) and there was a high proportion of residents with neurological (including dementia), psychiatric and medical disorders. Conclusions: The five regions varied considerably in residential bed provision; many other RF characteristics, including staff/resident ratios, showed similar variability. Most RFs hosted older people with a variety of neurological, psychiatric and medical disorders. Future phases of the project will aim at shedding light on many other features in these institutions, which care for 2.1% of the older population in Italy and may serve even greater proportions of older people in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-138
Number of pages7
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Nursing homes
  • Residential facilities
  • Staff composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing

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