- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2006


Not-for-profit nursing homes generally provide better care than those operated for profits, an analysis of state inspections for about 16,000 homes nationwide found.

Also, independent nursing homes tend to provide better care than those managed by companies that run numerous nursing homes.

Consumer Reports, which provides consumer tips, says that those conclusions are based on its evaluation of recent state inspection reports for the nursing homes. A grant from the Commonwealth Fund was used to compile a list of the facilities in each state that rank in the best or worst 10 percent on at least two indicators of quality. Researchers reviewed the three most recent inspection reports for each home.

Only a fraction of nursing homes, regardless of whether they were a for-profit or nonprofit, met Consumer Reports’ standards for a quality nursing homes. With for-profits, only about 2 percent were classified as likely to provide good care. The nonprofits fared a little better at 7.3 percent.

One reason the independently owned facilities might do better than those run by chains is that independent facilities tend to have more staff.

Consumer Reports, which is published by Consumers Union, issued recommendations for family members who want to improve their prospects for finding a good nursing home. They include:

• Getting a list of local facilities from your nearest agency on aging, as well as contact information for the local ombudsman, a government official whose job is to investigate nursing-home complaints and advocate for residents.

• Checking the ownership. A resident’s chances of receiving good care are better at an independent, not-for-profit home.

• Not depending on the federal Web site at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (www.cms.hhs.gov). “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.”

• Visiting the homes under consideration unannounced. Drop in between 9:30 and 10 a.m., for example, to see how many people are still in bed. Homes with too few staff members don’t get people out of bed until later in the day, if at all.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide