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Study: Poorer care at for-profit nursing homes than nonprofits, private homes

A new study suggests that care at for-profit nursing homes is worse than at nonprofit and private homes.

By HealthDay News

Older adults who live in for-profit nursing homes are nearly twice as likely to have health problems linked to poor care than those in nonprofit nursing homes and those who live in private homes, a new study finds.

"We saw more -- and more serious -- diagnoses among residents of for-profit facilities that were consistent with severe clinical signs of neglect, including severe dehydration in clients with feeding tubes which should have been managed, clients with stage 3 and 4 bed sores, broken catheters and feeding tubes, and clients whose medication for chronic conditions was not being managed properly," said study leader Lee Friedman.

Friedman, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, added that substandard care falls within the definition of elder abuse.

The study included more than 1,100 people, aged 60 and older, who were seen in five Chicago-area hospitals between 2007 and 2011 for health problems that could be related to poor care.

Along with finding that neglect-related health problems were more common in for-profit nursing homes than in nonprofits, the researchers also found that community-dwelling patients had fewer of these problems than those in any type of nursing home.

Community-dwelling patients need help with daily living but live in private homes, often with family members or friends.

"For-profit nursing facilities pay their high-level administrators more, and so the people actually providing the care are paid less than those working at nonprofit places," Friedman said in a news release from the University of Illinois. "So staff at for-profit facilities are underpaid and need to take care of more residents, which leads to low morale for staff, and it's the residents who suffer."

He said more oversight of nursing homes is needed, along with improved screening and reporting of suspected neglect.

The study was published recently in the journal Gerontology.
More information

HealthinAging.org has more on nursing homes.

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Health News: Study: Poorer care at for-profit nursing homes than nonprofits, private homes
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