In one of the first studies directly comparing patient care provided by non-profits operations vs. nursing home conglomerates (the ten largest for-profit chains), an analysis conducted by University of California San Francisco (UCSF) clearly demonstrated that the facility have significantly more deficiencies that can be responsible for patients unmet medical needs and the development of serious complications such as: falls, infections, drastic weight loss and pressure sores.
According to one of the studies author’s Charlene Harrington, RD, PhD, there is no ambiguity in the studies findings:
- Poor quality of care in an endemic in many nursing homes, but we found that the most serious problems occur in the largest for-profit chains.
- Inadequate staffing levels appears to be the major reason why patients at big chain nursing homes suffer more harm. When comparing the number of nursing hours provided by registered nurses (RN’s) and nurses assistants (CNA’s), patients at larger nursing homes received approximately 30% less attention than patients receiving care in a non-profit or government controlled nursing home.
- As the largest variable to control costs and boost profits, big chain operations trim staff to levels where patient needs are simply disregarded in favor of delivering profits to their shareholders. My hope is that officials take note of studies such as this and begin to implement mandatory staffing levels which would inevitably translate to improved patient care.
Incidentally, the UCSF study looked at the care provided by the nations ten largest for-profit nursing home chains. Collectively, the nursing home chains operate approximately 2,000 facilities and provide care for 13% of the nursing home population. At the time of this study, the ten largest nursing home chains included: HCR Manor Care, Golden Living, Life Care Centers of America, Kindred Healthcare, Genesis Healthcare Corporation, Sun Health Care Group Inc., Sava Senior Care LLC, Extendicare Health Services Inc., National Healthcare Corporation and Skilled Healthcare LLC.
Related Nursing Home Law Center LLC Blog entries: