Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is no routine matter. Emotions run deep during this time, when families struggle to balance the senior’s need for close care and safety with their concerns about the quality of life available in these assisted-living facilities. Our New York elder law estate planning attorneys have helped many families with this process. We appreciate that there are usually two big questions that come up: (1) What is the best facility for our loved one? and (2) How are we going to pay for it?
In answering the latter question, New York elder law attorneys will explain that the costs can either be paid out of pocket, via use of private long-term care insurance, or through the New York Medicaid system. The former question is a bit more challenging, because so much subjectivity is involved. The answer for each family is different. The exact type of care needed, proximity to loved ones, and similar details need to be considered when choosing which nursing home is best. Of course, as a general matter, every family will want to ensure that the nursing home they chose is one free of chronic neglect, mistreatment, and abuse. Many elder care advocates have explained that when it comes to safety measures, study after study has found that nonprofit nursing homes outperform for-profit facilities. One long-term care doctor explained, “Most studies show that nonprofits do a better job of caring for patients, but we’re not sure why that happens.” This is an important consideration for families deciding where to send their loved one.
A post this week in the New Old Age blog from the New York Times recently discussed another interesting comparison between for-profit and nonprofit homes: the employees are happiest at nonprofit nursing homes. This may be part of the reason why care at these facilities is superior. At the end of the day, the quality of life for those in these facilities is dependent on the work performed by the hands-on caregivers. Therefore, how those caregivers perceive their job is likely to play a key role in their day-to-day actions. The nonprofit employees were happier overall for a variety of reasons: their ability to help set policy, more supportive managers, and availability of adequate resources.
One corollary is that staff turnover at nonprofit homes is much lower than at for-profit facilities. It is not hard to see how consistency in the workforce helps breed experience and better overall care. Long serving nurses and nurse’s assistants can gain familiarity with each resident and are better able to understand their quirks, notice problems, and respond quickly to their needs.
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