For-Profit Vs. Non-Profit: A Scary Study Of Nursing Homes


What kind of care are you paying for?: image via nursinghomepro.comWhat kind of care are you paying for?: image via Those of you whose parents are at the age where a nursing home is being considered as an option for their care may just want to pay attention to the results of a recent study led by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).  It compares the staffing and quality of care at for-profit nursing homes with that of non-profit facilities.

You may be on top of this one, just figuring that 'for profit' means 'less care,' but to see it in print after researchers have collected the black and white data, is another thing... and it makes one sick. 

In fact, the findings were that between the years studied, 2003 through 2008, both the percent of registered nurses and the numbers of all nursing staff were significantly less (30 percent) than those of the non-profit homes.  The lower staffing correlated with a considerably higher number of rated deficiencies - the private chains having 36 percent more deficiencies, and 41 percent more serious deficiencies than the non-profits.  Deficiencies include failure to prevent pressure sores, resident weight loss, falls, infections, resident mistreatment, poor sanitary conditions, and other problems that could seriously harm residents.

Additionally, nursing homes purchased by private equity during the years 2003 to 2008 had more deficiencies after being acquired. This finding is the first to make the connection between poor patient care following acquisition by a private company.

The 10 largest for-profit chains in 2008 were HCR Manor Care, Golden Living, Life Care Centers of America, Kindred Healthcare, Genesis HealthCare Corporation, Sun Health Care Group, Inc., SavaSeniorCare LLC, Extendicare Health Services, Inc., National Health Care Corporation, and Skilled HealthCare, LLC.  Together, they represent only 13 percent of U.S. nursing home facilities, but they are "influential in the nursing home industry and are the most successful in terms of growth and market share."

The authors call for more study and greater accountability and quality oversight mechanisms in order to improve nursing home care.  Additionally, they suggest sanctions for low staffing and poor quality as well as effective funding incentives.

This study is published in Health Services Research.

Source:  UCSF

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