Nursing Home Lawyer Observes Little Correlation Between The Size Of Nursing Home Operation And Quality Of Care Provided To Patients

The below is an article submitted by Illinois nursing home attorneys, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers.

When it comes to long-term care, choosing a large, for-profit conglomerate may not be the best option for your loved one. There are many of these giant nursing home chains that treat the care of human beings as a business not unlike an assembly line at a manufacturing plant. They have no issues cutting needed services like appropriate staffing, incorporate litigation costs for neglect into their budgets and only look at the bottom line.

Study Highlights Deficiencies In Large Chains

The lack of care in these large chains is not just a matter of opinion, it has been shown to exist through a study done out of the University of California San Francisco that was published in Health Services Research. The study looked at the top ten largest nursing home chains and compared their citations, staffing and health of their patients to government run and private, not-for-profit facilities over a five-year period. The big ten came up lacking in all areas, with a stark contrast in levels of care compared to their counterparts.

  • Staffing levels. The large nursing home chains had significantly smaller amounts of staff, especially in the nursing area, then other homes. Both their regular and registered nurse hours were lower on average than the other facilities; in fact they were about 30% lower than the average of the homes in the study. They were also below the national average for nursing hours.
  • Patient health. The patients at these homes tended to have poorer health than that of their counterparts. When you combine the low staff levels with patients that need more care due to their health, it is an alarming combination.
  • Citations. Another area that these large chains were lacking in was their adherence to health and safety standards. They had more deficiencies marked during their inspections, an average of 36% more than the other homes. Also, the severity of the violations was 41% worse than the government and not-for-profit homes.

The chains studied run more than 2,000 nursing homes nationwide. The chains who were looked at 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 Health Care Corp., and Skilled HealthCare LLC.

It is very concerning that these homes treat the care of our treasured elderly like any other business. Apparently, it is a very profitable one as well. While other companies are having down turns in this economy, some of the companies in this study are seeing increases in profits. Kindred Healthcare was one of the companies that saw growth. They touted a 27% increase in 2011 over 2010 and are showing positive numbers so far for 2012.

It is unbelievable that the care of our elderly has gotten to the point where they are just looked at as a commodity. Companies who are allowed to continue to make profits by giving substandard care to our loved ones need stronger legislation and legal ramifications. In the mean time, do not trust these companies with an aging loved one if you want them to receive proper care.


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