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Nursing home abuse and neglect on the rise; worse in homes acquired by private firms

Nursing home abuse and neglect has been consistently on the rise, and the rapidly aging population in the United States only makes this serious problem more worrisome. A recent study has found that from 2000-2006, there was a 22% rise in the serious reprimands nursing homes received for dangerous conditions such as medication errors, physical and sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and allowing patients to sustain injuries by falling or developing pressure sores; these are only a few examples.

The chance of this problem ceasing any time soon has been greatly decreased by the recent trend of private investment firms acquiring nursing home chains. The nursing home industry has been a sought after one as demands for long term care increase along with the aging population. Homes owned by private investment firms have proven to have conditions worse than other nursing homes. In 12 out of the 14 areas used by regulators to track ailments prevalent in nursing homes, homes owned by private investment firms scored worse than the national rates. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the residents at nursing homes and facilities owned by private equity are shown to suffer more from depression, loss of mobility, and inability to bathe and dress themselves. These homes also have more citations for things like inappropriately restraining residents and serving unsuitable or moldy food.