For Immediate Release | February 23, 2012

In Residential Long-term Care, Delivery Matters

Research shows direct link between for-profit ownership and lower quality

Parkland Institute

Download the statement

EDMONTON – A new fact sheet released this morning by the U of A’s Parkland Institute points to a direct link between the ownership of residential long-term care facilities and the quality of service delivery.

The fact sheet, entitled Delivery Matters, looks at a variety of US and Canadian research to come to the conclusion that for-profit residential long-term care facilities are more likely to provide inferior care. 

The Institute points to systematic studies which have found that public and nonprofit facilities have significantly higher staffing levels, a lower frequency of pressure ulcers, use physical restraints less often, and have fewer deficiency citations.

A Manitoba study, for example, determined that living in a nonprofit facility decreased the odds of dying in hospital or being hospitalized, and a study in BC and Ontario found significantly lower rates of complaints in public and nonprofit facilities than in private for-profit facilities.

Even in Alberta, the Health Quality Council report released earlier this year found that publicly operated facilities consistently received higher overall care ratings than either nonprofit or for-profit facilities.

“That’s not to say that all for-profit facilities provide poor care,” says Margaret McGregor, a UBC prof who authored a key report on the subject in 2010.  “But we do need to be aware that, as a group, these facilities are more likely to provide an inferior level of care than public or nonprofit facilities.”

Parkland’s Research Director Diana Gibson points out that “across Canada the role of for-profit delivery is increasing.  With an aging population, all the provinces will need to expand their long-term care capacity in the coming years, and we seriously need to consider how that care will be paid for and delivered in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.”

The Parkland Institute is a non-partisan public policy research institute in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta.  The fact sheet Delivery Matters is available for download on its website at http://parklandinstitute.ca. 

Both Diana Gibson and Margaret McGregor will be featured speakers at the Beyond Acute Care conference taking place at the Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe in Edmonton this weekend.


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