The British Medical Journal recently published a study comparing quality in not-for-profit and for-profit nursing homes in various countries around the world with the goal of enhancing the evidence base for public policy.  Their premise is that if quality or appropriateness of care varies significantly by ownership, this should influence government policies related to regulatory assessments and the use of public funds for nursing homes.

The study took into account a number of quality measures, including:  Number of staff per resident or level of training of staff;  Use of physical restraints;  Incidence of pressure ulcers;  and Deficiency citations by a regulatory body.    For the study BMJ researchers defined a nursing home as a home for elderly people in which most residents require daily nursing care.

The study concluded that the evidence suggested that, on average, not-for-profit nursing homes deliver higher quality care than do for-profit nursing homes.    Many factors may however influence this relation in the case of individual institutions.

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