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The Corporatization of Nursing Homes: What Does it mean for Patient Care Trends

Private investors are purchasing nursing homes. The result? A declining care for the elderly patients, particularly in nursing homes owned by multi-state chains. Chicago nursing home abuse is already a concern for families who have a loved one in a care facility. Unfortunately, the corporatization of nursing home facilities increases the need for concern. Corporate, for-profit nursing homes are generally more focused on increasing profits than providing outstanding care for their elderly residents.

Numerous studies, data reports, and newspaper articles compare for-profit facilities to not-for-profit facilities. The results are unchanging. For-profit corporate nursing homes repeatedly show a deficiency in care.

A 2007 New York Times investigative article highlighted the deficiencies. The report found a 41% increased profit margin in nursing home facilities owned by private equity firms. How does a care facility become more profitable? By limiting spending on staff and care costs, and increasing spending on marketing and corporate overhead.

In for-profit and chain-operated nursing home enterprises fewer resources are allocated for direct patient care. As a result, residents experience a lower quality of care. In addition to less staff and a lower quality of care, for-profit nursing home facilities exhibit a higher prevalence of pressure ulcers among residents and their residents are more likely to experience the use of restraints.

Another study estimated there would be a whopping 500,000 more hours of nursing care each day in the United States if the nursing home facilities were not operated on a for-profit basis! Check out the British Medicine Journal research: http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/382164/field_highwire_article_pdf/0.pdf

Facilities that are not-for-profit generally have greater levels of care and higher levels of staff devoted to patient care. The corporatization of nursing homes can increase profits at the expense of elderly patients. Use the resources available to you to make the best choice for you and your family. Elder abuse can happen anywhere—it is not specific to for-profit facilities. So be careful and always watch out for signs of elder abuse.

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