According to a recent study and surveys conducted by Consumer Reports, “not-for-profit nursing homes generally provide better quality of care for residents than for-profit facilities.”
Consumer Reports, in collaboration with a grant from the Commonwealth Fund, found that “independent nursing homes were found to provide better care than those managed by companies that operate numerous homes.” The survey compared findings from three of the most recent state inspection reports that spanned approximately 16,000 nursing homes nationwide, only a limited number of which met Consumer Reports’ standards.
While the survey reveals that not-for-profit, independently owned facilities may provide better care than large chain facilities, they are more difficult to find because they make up a small portion of the industry. The main reason for-profit homes have come to dominate the field is because of the establishment of Medicaid. While the difference in service between the profit and non-for-profit may seem slight, Consumer Reports have noted that the main reason for the difference in service and care is because “on average, not-for-profits provided almost an hour of additional nursing care each day per resident, compared with for-profit facilities. They also provided nearly twice as much care from registered nurses.”
While several factors should be considered by family members when searching for nursing home care for a relative, Consumer Reports advises that family members also take the following recommendations into consideration:
- “Obtain a list of homes from a nearby agency on aging, as well as the contact information for the area ombudsman.”
- “Investigate the ownership of the facility, keeping in mind that independent not-for-profit facilities tend to offer the highest quality of care.”
- “Do not rely [strictly] on the CMS website for information.” According to Consumer Reports, “Our comparison of the information on that site and the state inspection reports on which it is based show that you’ll probably get an incomplete and possibly misleading picture.”
- “Visit the homes under consideration. Drop by unannounced during morning waking hours and dinner hours to see if residents are taken out of their beds or eating communally – signs of a good, well-staffed facility.”