On average, Illinois nursing homes have the worst resident to direct care worker ratio of any state in the country. Direct care workers are the individuals who provide most of the day to day support for seniors in need. From ensuring residents make it to the bathroom, eat sufficiently, are transferred to a wheelchair, and virtually all other tasks, these employees are absolutely essential to safe and secure treatment of residents.
Countless Illinois nursing home resident suffer because of this under-staffing. The problem leads local advocates to call repeatedly for changes at nursing homes to ensure each resident has access to the support they need on a daily basis.
The most common retort from long-term care facility owners and operators is that they are stretched to the bone financially. Most claim that it is impossible to hire more caregivers, because they do not receive enough revenue to pay more providers. If those pleas are to be believed, then one wonders why anyone would want to be in the long-term care business at all. If there is not enough revenue to pay for caregivers, then owners must be exiting in droves, right?
Many investors are flocking to the industry, often buoyed by hefty profit-margins raked in by current facilities.
When evaluating the claims of nursing home owners and operators who provide inadequate care, it is always best to take a look at their actions–not their words.
Large Illinois Nursing Home Purchase
For example, as reported last week in Chicago Real Estate Daily, one local operator recently paid a eye-popping $55.8 million to acquire two nursing homes–one in Chicago and another in Evergreen Park.
According to the story, the transaction was completed in July. The company–Legacy Healthcare Financial Services LLC–bought the Warren Barr Pavilion in Chicago and the Evergreen Health Care Center in Evergreen Park. All together, the facilities include 513 beds. These acquisitions come only shortly after the same company bought nursing homes in Rogers Park and Northbrook this winter. The company expects the purchases to continue. At least three other facilities may be bought in the area by year’s end.
As one local real estate professional explained about the local senior housing care market, “Investor demand is at an all-time high.”
Make no mistake: Companies are investing in long-term care because of their expectations about profit. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a business driving for profit–that’s the whole point of business. However, it is entirely disingenuous for the companies to make excuses about their inability to pay for proper staffing because of money troubles.
It is important to hold these companies accountable for properly balancing the needs of residents and their goal of sufficient profits. It is unacceptable to cut staffing levels to the bone in order to save money at the expense of residents’ receiving adequate care. If these facilities act in that manner and a resident is harmed as a result, then it is critical to hold their feet to the fire. Sadly, that is often the only way to ensure that changes are made to prevent future accidents.
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