Chicago Area Nursing Home Quality

A recent analysis reveals that the largest for-profit facilities maintain staffing levels nearly one-third lower than non-profit and government-owned nursing homes, resulting in a significantly lower quality of care.

The study, led by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), looked at the relationship between staffing and quality of care at the ten largest for-profit nursing home chains.

“Poor quality of care is endemic in many nursing homes, but we found that the most serious problems occur in the largest for-profit chains”, said lead author Charlene Harrington, RN, PhD, professor emeritus of sociology and nursing at the UCSF School of Nursing. “The Top ten chains have a strategy of keeping labor costs low to increase profits. They are not making quality a priority”.

Although the top chains had the sickest residents, their total nursing hours were 30 percent lower than non-profit and government nursing homes, the UCSF study found. Moreover, the major chains were well below the national average for registered nurse and total nurse staffing, and below the minimum nurse staffing recommended by experts.

According to the study, the ten largest for-profit chains were cited for 36 percent more deficiencies and 41 percent more serious deficiencies than the best facilities. Deficiencies include failure to prevent pressure sores, resident weight loss, falls, infections, resident mistreatment, poor sanitary conditions and other problems that could seriously harm residents.

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