Moving your loved ones into a nursing home can be difficult at first, and so many questions can come up.  Will they provide great care?  How much will it cost?  Which home do I choose?  Do any of them seem to have happier residents – and more importantly, maybe, residents that live longer?  Another question, perhaps not so common today, is whether to choose a state-run nursing home or a privately owned one.  Each type has its pros and cons; but you may find it harder to find state-run nursing homes now, and we will explain why in just a few moments.

The Cost of Care

Nursing homes cost a lot of money.  Not only are they extremely expensive to run and maintain, but it’s also expensive to keep loved ones there.  It can cost as much as $83,000 per year to care for an individual in one of these homes, and prices keep steadily rising with no signs of slowing down or declining.  It’s because of this that Medicaid, the government health program that funds almost all aspects of state-run nursing homes, is having trouble keeping these facilities properly maintained.

As a way to keep the buildings open, more and more state-run nursing homes are being privatized, or bought by private owners who then make several cost-cutting changes that the government could previously not do, such as reduce employee or guest benefits, increase prices, lay off employees, or close off certain sections.

Quality of Care

With that said, is there really a difference between the quality of care between a government-run nursing home and a private facility?  While it might be easy to believe that government facilities would provide better care than private ones that cut costs, the reality is this: all nursing homes must comply with federal regulations, which require a high quality of care.  The quality of private nursing homes keeps improving, and it’s hard for residents (or their families) to tell the difference.  This is good, because the number of private facilities keeps growing while state-run facilities are dwindling.

If you want your loved ones to receive the best attention, however, it might be best to search for a non-profit nursing home, whether state- or private-owned.  That’s because non-profit buildings usually have a lower caregiver-to-resident ratio, meaning that more personalized care will be given to each person.

By comparison, for-profit facilities have much higher ratios, and it’s not uncommon for one caregiver to take care of entire sections of the building.  Private-duty nurses also exist to provide personalized care even if your loved ones choose to stay at their current location. But for true peace of mind and the best overall care, it might be best to consider a non-profit nursing home.

Stay tuned as we continue to review “end of life” decisions, including hospice care and personal homecare programs.

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Cited Sources

Keilman, John, and Amy Alderman. “Lake County-run Nursing Homes Becoming a Luxury.” Chicago Tribune, 5 July 2011. Web. 23 June 2012. <>.

“State Laws and Nursing Homes.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2012. <>.

Vellayappan, Arjun. “Advantages of Private Duty Nursing.” N.p., 4 Aug. 2011. Web. 26 June 2012. <>.

“Paying for Nursing Home Care.” New York State Health Facilities Association Inc., n.d. Web. 26 June 2012. <>.

“Average Cost of a Nursing Home Room Tops $83,000 a Year.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2012. <>.

“Annual Expenditures for Nursing Home Care.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 26 June 2012. <>.

“Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Nursing Homes: Is There a Difference in Care?” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2012. <>.