Nursing Home Transition

More than 1.6 million Americans live in nursing homes and probably won’t leave the homes until their deaths. Several small studies have suggested that for-profit nursing homes, which make up two-thirds of the nation’s nursing homes, offer poor care. Of the homes in this study that had similar findings, 65.8% were investor owned, 27.7% were nonprofits, and 6.5% were public.

Nurse staffing in all types of nursing occupations was lower at investor-owned homes, which may have something to do with care quality. Investor owned homes were larger than private nursing homes, which may impact quality. Yet public nursing homes were usually larger than investor owned homes and rated higher on care quality. The most obvious explanation for poor care, the researchers theorized, is that profit seeking takes funds from clinical care. The nation’s largest nursing home often make $5.28 per patient each day. Harrington, C., Woolhandler, S., Mullan, J., Carrillo, H., & Himmelstein, D. U. (2001, September).

Does investor ownership of nursing homes compromise the quality of care? American Journal of Public Health 91(9), 1452-455. See