Another study has come out which has found that nursing home neglect is more frequently found at the largest for-profit nursing home chains than at all other locations. Ask any Chicago nursing home lawyer and they would likely not be at all surprised by the findings. The same goes for blog readers, as we have repeatedly published stories discussing the higher rates of abuse and neglect that pervade some of the largest chains (and for-profit facilities in general). We know that Illinois nursing home neglect can occur anywhere. However, for local families in the process of figuring out the actual best place for their loved one to live, it is very helpful to keep up-to-date with general quality of care indicators like those found in this study.
The research was conducted by the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing, and it set out to examine basic differences between for-profit and non-profit or government- run facilities. We have previously touched on this report in an earlier blog post. The study examined various quality of care measures at ten of the nation’s largest nursing home chains. What they found, unsurprisingly, that these chains measured quite poorly on wide range of factors. Some of the findings include.
1) For-profit homes had lower staffing hours for registered nurses than public facilities. These staffing levels are one of the most important indicators when it comes to the level of care that is provided to residents. At the end of the day, nursing home neglect results when staff members fail to act as they should. The chance of that occurring is greatly enhanced when there are simply not enough bodies to do all of the work necessary. If families pay attention to nothing else, staffing ratios are vital statistics to gauging overall care at a home.
2) Medicare deficiency rates were 36% higher in private homes than public facilities. Medicare and Medicaid deficiency standards are another good benchmark of overall home quality. Also important is information about whether or not a home has improved from year to year, which indicates whether it is taking steps to actually fix the problems that have been identified.
3) Some for-profit facilities showed deterioration in care quality after they were purchased by larger private equity companies. This should be alarming for those who are at-homes where takeover is possible. Care may be sufficient at one point but then get worse over the years.
4) Bedsore rates were higher at for-profit homes, in large part due to the lower nursing staff levels. One of the main reasons that bedsores develop is because residents with mobility problems are properly repositioned. This repositioning frequently comes down to having enough caregivers around to help in the process each and every day.
All local families should continue to take this information into account when evaluating the best living space for a loved one. The process is never easy, and there is usually no sure-fire way to be guaranteed that neglect and abuse will not occur. But clear trends do exist and prior preparation goes a long way to making the best choice for your family member.
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