Why a Nonprofit Nursing Home May Be the Best Option for Your Loved One

Nurse with an elderly patientChoosing a nursing home facility for an elderly loved one is a difficult decision for a family to make. There are so many factors at play: quality of care, distance from home, and a pleasant environment, among others. Many options may be available, but be careful. Some nursing homes are more concerned about making a profit than about providing the right level of care for residents.

The Rise of For-Profit Nursing Homes

These days, most nursing home facilities in the U.S. are for profit. In fact, 78% of nursing home revenues went to for-profit institutions in 2010 (up from 72% in 2008). These nursing homes may be more willing to cut crucial corners in order to bring in more revenue, even when doing so puts residents in harm’s way, and skirts around what the law permits.

Between 2010 and 2012, federal prosecutors brought 120 cases against nursing homes. Many of these homes are run by enormous companies that operate thousands of nursing homes nationwide. Some are even facing lawsuits associated with preventable deaths of residents. These cases involve a situation in which residents often went without food, bathing, or proper medical treatment. Neglect is not a problem that is unique to for-profit nursing homes, but it is more common within them.

How For-Profit Facilities Cut Corners

The most important factor that influences a nursing home’s quality of care is the staff. It’s not surprising that when a facility hires skilled, well-trained personnel–and hires enough of them–residents are well cared for. Conversely, it is unsafe to have a low ratio of caretakers to residents, as many residents suffer from serious health and cognitive conditions that require close supervision.

A 2011 report published by the Government Accountability Office found that for-profit institutions were severely lagging in this area. For-profit nursing homes had fewer registered nurses present per resident per day, and had the highest number of deficiencies causing harm or jeopardy to residents. For-profit institutions are also likely to spend less money on activities for residents, as well as nursing supplies, and even food. This all leads to a lower quality of life and more health risks for residents. Not-for-profit institutions, however, are not driven by the bottom line. These facilities generally hire more staff, and are able to commit more resources to keeping residents healthy and happy.

Making a Decision

Choosing a nursing home for your loved one is a deeply personal decision, and one that is different for every family. However, when researching nursing homes, it is worth weighing the true goals of the facility–is it the well-being of residents, or is it profit? It is well worth your time to look into non-profit nursing homes, as they often provide a higher standard of care.
If you already have a loved one in a nursing home, don’t hesitate to speak up on their behalf if it appears he or she is not getting the quality care they deserve. And, if you suspect mistreatment or abuse, contact us at the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C.

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