In 2007, the Carlyle Group, one of the wealthiest private equity firms in the world, purchased ManorCare, the second largest nursing home chain in the country. A recent investigation by the Washington Post details how the purchase made ManorCare a for-profit business that prioritized financial return for investors at the expense ManorCare’s 25,000 patients. The results were devastating. As the Post investigation revealed, in the years following the purchase, health code violations rose by 26 percent. Serious violations, which can be categorized as issues placing a patient in “immediate jeopardy” increased by 29%. The nursing homes were chronically understaffed by nurses. This past March, ManorCare filed for bankruptcy.
Behind each of these violations is a human being with a real story. The Post investigation details several and each are heartbreaking. They include stories of patients left unclothed with visible bedsores and infections; limited mobility patients forced to walk unaided due to lack of staff who would fall and suffer fractures or brain hemorrhages; and patients who “were so poorly staffed that some residents regularly soiled themselves while waiting for help to the bathroom.” We all have loved ones who currently or in the future may require, skilled nursing care. It is vital for family members to have faith and trust in the care providers. The unacceptable situation at ManorCare highlights a scary trend where regulations failed, and actual harm resulted. Continue reading