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Is There a Difference in Safety Between For-Profit and Not-for-Profit Nursing Homes?

When it’s time to move your loved one into a nursing home, deciding where they should live is often a difficult decision. To accommodate America’s aging population, there are more than 15,000 certified nursing homes nationwide and nearly 300 in Oklahoma alone. Choosing the right one requires a lot of research, including determining your budget and ruling out nursing homes that don’t fit into it.

Because nursing homes are so expensive, it’s common for people to make decisions based on cost. Not-for-profit nursing homes are often attractive options because they’re frequently less expensive than for-profit nursing homes. However, many families worry that the care their loved ones will receive will be lower quality in not-for-profit facilities compared to for-profit facilities. Even worse, they may worry for their loved one’s safety.

In this blog, we’ll explore the distinction between these two types of facilities and what they might mean for your family.

What’s the Difference Between For-Profit and Not-for-Profit Facilities?

The difference between for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes lies primarily in their ownership, operational goals, and how they reinvest their revenues.

Here’s a breakdown of the key distinctions:

For-Profit Nursing Homes

These facilities are owned by individuals, partnerships, or corporations with the primary goal of generating profit for their owners or shareholders. They operate like any other business, aiming to maximize income and minimize costs, which can sometimes affect how resources are allocated toward patient care and facility improvements.

Not-for-Profit Nursing Homes

Not-for-profit homes are usually owned by charitable organizations, religious groups, or non-profit corporations. Instead of focusing on profit generation, their main objective is to provide care for residents. Any surplus revenues are reinvested into the facility, staff development, and resident care programs. These homes may also benefit from donations and volunteers, further supporting their mission.

Which Type of Facility Is Safer for Residents?

Many people assume that because they make more money, for-profit nursing homes may be safer than not-for-profit nursing homes due to having more resources or larger payrolls for staff members. Others may assume the opposite and believe that not-for-profit facilities may be safer due to being less focused on revenue.

Studies show that not-for-profit nursing homes are often safer for residents and provide higher quality care. Some key points stand out when comparing the safety and quality of care between for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes:

  • Staffing Levels: Not-for-profit nursing homes often have higher staffing levels, including more registered nurses and certified nursing assistants per resident. Higher staffing levels are linked to better care quality, fewer medical errors, and improved safety outcomes for residents.

  • Health Inspections and Violations: Studies have shown that for-profit nursing homes may have a higher number of health code violations and deficiencies compared to not-for-profit homes. These violations can range from minor infractions to serious issues that could affect resident mental and physical health, safety, and well-being.

  • Investment in Care: Not-for-profit nursing homes typically invest more in resident care, which can lead to better safety practices and outcomes. This investment includes training for staff, facility maintenance, and resources for residents’ health and comfort.

  • Patient Outcomes: Research suggests that not-for-profit nursing homes often have better patient outcomes, including lower rates of hospital readmissions, fewer pressure ulcers (bedsores), and higher overall satisfaction among residents and their families. These outcomes can be attributed to the higher staffing levels and the focus on care over profit.

Tips for Choosing the Right Nursing Home for Your Loved One

Although not-for-profit homes often come out on top when it comes to patient safety and satisfaction, the decision shouldn’t be made based solely on a nursing home’s financial status or ownership. When selecting a nursing home, it’s important to look beyond the profit status.

Families should consider factors such as:

  • Staff-to-Resident Ratio: The number of staff members relative to the number of residents is crucial for providing personalized and timely care. Higher staff-to-resident ratios often result in better care and attention for each resident.

  • Staff Qualifications and Training: Investigate the qualifications, training, and turnover rate of the staff. Facilities with well-trained, experienced staff who have been at the home for a long time are likely to provide higher quality care.

  • Services and Amenities: Consider the range of services and amenities offered, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreational activities, and religious services. Ensure they align with your loved one’s needs and interests.

  • Safety and Security Measures: Check the safety and security measures in place, including emergency plans, security personnel, and how medication is managed and administered.

  • Cleanliness and Maintenance: Assess the cleanliness and overall maintenance of the facility. A clean, well-maintained environment is crucial for the health and well-being of residents.

  • Resident and Family Satisfaction: Speak with current residents and their families about their experiences. Their insights can provide valuable information about the quality of care, staff responsiveness, and overall satisfaction with the facility.

  • Culture and Environment: The overall culture, atmosphere, and philosophy of care should align with the resident’s values and expectations. A positive, welcoming environment contributes to the well-being and happiness of residents.

Contact Our Oklahoma City Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Unfortunately, abuse and neglect can occur in both for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes. It’s up to the families of residents to keep a close eye on them and act quickly if they notice or even suspect mistreatment is occurring.

If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated in their nursing home, our Oklahoma City nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help. Contact Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers today for a free case review.

We believe the mistreatment of nursing home facility residents is unacceptable, and we hold negligent parties accountable while fighting for the rights of our clients and their loved ones.