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Nursing Homes Abuse Blog By Jonathan Rosenfeld

National Nursing Home Issue & For-Profit Chains

issues for profitDecades ago, a nursing home represented a place where elderly citizens would live when they would no longer have the capability to care for themselves. However, the shameful truth is that the rise of large nursing home chains has made nursing home care into a business rather than a passion. Instead of providing the best possible care, many of these chains care about making a profit.

Articles from the New York Times warned about this as early as five years ago, but unfortunately the trend of large investment companies and private equity firms buying nursing home chains as investments has not only continued – it has increased.

Why this matters?

The truth is that if these new owners maintained the same level of care as before, there would not be much of a problem. However, these large investment companies and private equity firms become concerned with the nursing home’s bottom line. While there is no denying that there are many nursing homes that could ‘trim the fat’ by ensuring more efficient staff compliance, oftentimes these new owners take things a step further. They fail to fix structural problems with their facilities and shrink the budget for supplies. Oftentimes these companies will even cut their staffing levels below the legally required limit, all in order to save money. The unfortunate truth is that in these facilities, those who need the most help are the ones who suffer.

According to research from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the nursing homes owned by private investment companies have a number of problems that others do not. Compared to residents of other homes, the residents of nursing homes owned by private investment companies report a loss of ability to bathe and clothe, loss of mobility, and experience more depression. When compared to other nursing homes, those owned by investment firms traditionally score lower in the different categories used to measure the overall nursing home quality.

A deplorable lack of quality

Studies suggest that amongst investor-owned homes, the average registered nurse has to take care of seven more patients than in other homes. Moreover, investor-owned homes saw a 19 percent increase in quality of care deficiencies, including mixed up medications and moldy food.

The truth is that these new owners are concerned about the bottom line, these new owners care about the financials. This means that experienced nursing managers and administrators are told how to run the facility, and this typically means drastically cutting the budget, even if it means a drastic decline in patient quality.

What can you do?

If you believe that you or someone close to you lives in a nursing home that operates below industry standards, it is important to seek legal action right away. While we respect the idea that these investors see a nursing home as a lucrative investment, at no point should profits come before the health and welfare of its residents.

By going to court, it is possible to have a fine or settlement imposed, meaning that you are going to get the investor’s attention, because you are hurting them in the one place they seem to care about. If you notice neglect or a lack of attention, speak up. That is going to be the only way to enact change.

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