Nursing Home Study Says Non-Profits Better

In the ongoing analysis of <"">nursing home abuse, an emerging review of over 82 studies concluded that nonprofit nursing home facilities generally deliver better quality of care over for-profit facilities, said Science Daily. The study appears in the online edition of the British Medical Journal.

The statistical review looked at individual research studies and has implications regarding the current health reform debate in the United States, noted Science Daily. “The results are unequivocal and completely consistent with other studies comparing for-profit versus nonprofit care,” said Dr. Gordon Guyatt, the study’s senior author and professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, quoted Science Daily. Dr. Guyatt is also considered a world leader in “evidence-based medicine,” a term he created, it noted.

According to Science Daily, the review looked at quality-of-care measurements from the studies, which had collected data dating as far back as 1965 and up to 2003. The reviews involved “tens of thousands of nursing homes,” which were mostly located in the U.S. In nearly half—40—of the studies, the so-called “statistically significant comparisons” fell in favor of nonprofits while three studies favored for-profits.

In the meta-analysis, a collating of information from a number of studies, revealed that in half of the most commonly reported quality measures, nonprofits delivered better quality care versus for-profits, said Science Daily. The two measures concerned higher quality staffing and a reduced reporting of bedsores/pressure ulcers, said Science Daily. The other two areas in which improved performance were suggested involved a reduced number of physical restraint instances and less deficiencies/quality violations noted in governmental reviews.

“The reason patients’ quality of care is inferior in for-profit nursing homes is that administrators must spend 10 percent to 15 percent of revenues satisfying shareholders and paying taxes,” said Guyatt. “For-profit providers cut corners to ensure shareholders achieve their expected return on investment,” quoted Science Daily.

It seems that the current findings mirror previous studies in which for-profit facilities reported higher death rates and costs, while higher care quality was seen in not-for-profits, said Science Daily. “Our results should raise serious concerns about for-profit care, whether in nursing homes, hospitals, surgi-centers, or other outpatient facilities,” Guyatt said. “It is time to base health care policy on evidence, not ideology,” reported Science Daily.

We’ve been following the widespread issue of nursing home abuse for some time. Last year, the former Bush administration finally published the names of 131 of the nation’s worst nursing homes. Science Daily explained that approximately 1.5 million people live in the nearly 16,000 U.S. nursing homes and that over three million Americans will spend some time in a nursing home this year, citing the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The majority—about two-thirds—of all nursing home residents in the U.S. live in for-profit nursing homes.

Of note, when seniors are abused—emotionally, physically, financially, sexually, or through neglect—the risk of death increases by more than double, according a recent study, said Medicine Net recently.

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