For Profit vs. Non Profit Assisted Living
The differences between nonprofit assisted living and for-profit assisted living can be confusing for the consumer, so the best advice is to do your research when checking out long-term care options.
When seniors and families first begin the process of searching for senior living options, it can be daunting to pinpoint the best option from among the wide array of different types of communities. Those who are particularly concerned with finding senior housing that fits into a socially conscious, ethical care model may decide to research the possible differences between nonprofit and profit senior care, in order to aid their decision-making. But the differences between nonprofit and profit senior care extend beyond simply who owns the business and how they are structured — nonprofit and profit aging services may have marked differences in overall quality of care, particularly in the case of nursing homes and long-term care.
Understanding Types of Assisted Living
Indeed, some trends are visible in the data pertaining to quality of care in different types of nursing homes, with for profit facilities trailing nonprofits in various areas like staffing ratios, cited deficiencies and hospitalization rates, as reported by the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
It can be tempting to extrapolate and assume the trends also apply to assisted living or other types of senior housing, but that is not necessarily the case. That’s why it is critically important for consumers to do their due diligence in researching specific senior housing options, looking at the data for individual communities rather than generalizing.
“There certainly is a perception that nonprofits can be a better choice,” says Stacy Scherr, a Senior Living Advisor with A Place for Mom whose academic research has focused on the differences between the for profit, nonprofit, and public sectors. “However, the data needed to show that the care is actually better is harder to come by. I tend to look at the communities individually and how it is being run.” A Place for Mom’s experienced Advisors can give you an insider’s perspective on assisted living communities in every city, call (877) 369-9261 to connect with a local Advisor.
Profit vs. Non Profit: What’s the Difference in Assisted Living?
Here are some of the basic facts to remember about senior care organizations and their business models, whether for-profit or nonprofit:
- There are many types of organizational structures within senior care: nonprofit or for-profit; public or private; local facility or national chain. Each one will have a different mission and different cost considerations.
- Any senior care provider licensed by the state to provide skilled nursing services must adhere to that state’s regulations and oversight. Providers who are certified by Medicare or Medicaid are also subject to state and possibly federal regulation.
- Around 82% of residential care facilities are private and for-profit, and about 4 in 10 of those belong to a national chain.
- Nonprofit facilities, in contrast, are often owned by a group with a specific affiliation: professional, religious, ethnic, etc. “Religious and ethnic groups that operate buildings often say they are mission-driven, which implies they have a higher purpose to serve residents,” reports a Chicago Tribune article, but they, too, are businesses that need to operate effectively and adhere to appropriate regulations.
Do Your Research When Choosing Assisted Living
The Center for Medicare Advocacy notes that their findings may not universally apply to individual nursing homes: “some for-profit nursing facilities give excellent care and some not-for-profit nursing facilities give poor care.” Stacy Scherr adds, “there have been numerous nonprofit communities close up in the last few years because they either didn’t have enough funding or that they no longer were able to provide care.” This is why it’s critically important for consumers to do their research and tour communities in person to get a feeling for the quality of care.
From A Place for Mom’s Top 10 Tips for Touring Assisted Living Communities:
- Pay each facility a visit in person to get a sense of the way it is run and whether it will meet your family’s needs
- Pay attention to staff friendliness
- Eat a meal at the property
- Get feedback from residents and families
- Trust your instincts
Stacy Scherr advises: “Talk with the top administrator, Director of Nursing, Activities Director and the aides who actually provide care. You’ll get a sense if they are generally happy and work cohesively or if there are some larger issues that need to be addressed.” You can also use our Assisted Living Checklist to guide your visit.
Whether you ultimately prefer a nonprofit or a for profit business model, the most important issue when selecting assisted living for yourself or a loved one is the quality of care and the resident’s comfort and safety — so don’t skimp on background research.
We want to hear your thoughts on for profit vs. non profit care. What has your experience been like? Share your story with us in the comments below.
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