Should You Consider a Nonprofit Nursing Home? Should You Consider a Nonprofit Nursing Home?

When trying to find the right senior care for your loved one, there are a lot of factors to consider. One thing that may not be top of mind in your search for a quality nursing home is whether or not to go with one that’s for profit or find a nonprofit nursing home.

Here’s what you should know about the differences.

What it Takes for a Nursing Home to Qualify for Nonprofit Status

To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, a nursing home must submit the proper paperwork to the IRS that shows their annual revenue, their business structure, and that makes a case for the public good they serve. The main difference between a nonprofit and for-profit business of any sort is that any money a nonprofit makes above the amount they spend each year has to go back into the business – it can’t go into the pockets of shareholders.

How Are Nonprofit Nursing Homes Different for Residents?

What that means for residents depends a lot on the particular nursing home they go with. One nursing home isn’t automatically better than another due to its tax status, but there are some trends that point toward nonprofit nursing homes often being better for residents.

For-Profit Companies Tend to Spend Less on Patients

When an institution seeks to make money, one of the easiest ways to do that is to spend less. In practice, at for-profit nursing homes that can mean less money goes toward things like the food residents are given or the care they receive. In particular, for-profit nursing homes often hire fewer nurses to be on staff, meaning that residents won’t receive the same level of focused care they may receive at a nonprofit facility.

Nonprofit Facilities Often Have Happier Staff

Nurses that work in nonprofit nursing homes report being more satisfied with their jobs. Happier staff that’s less stressed out or preoccupied with work concerns can be expected to provide better care. And happy staff members tend to stay in place. Low turnover rates mean that residents are able to bond with the nurses and other staff that provide their care.

Nonprofit Nursing Homes Have Better Results On Average

This is the conclusion you’d expect from the first two points, and research bears it out. Nonprofit nursing homes have, on average, lower hospitalization rates, fewer cases of pressure ulcers, and lower rates of restraints. Patients appear to heal better in nonprofit nursing homes and are more likely to return to their own homes after a period of healing.

All that said, all nursing homes have to follow the regulations of the state, and any that take Medicare or Medicaid have to obey federal regulations as well. And a nonprofit status is no promise that a patient will receive better care, it’s simply one more factor worth considering in your search.

How to Find the Right Nursing Home for You

When looking for the best facility for your loved one, you should research the nursing homes in your area and think carefully about what will make a nursing home a good fit for them.

Take time to read up on each nursing home nearby. You can find details on different nursing homes, their amenities, and what current residents and their families think of them by searching nursing homes here.


And the best way to determine if a nursing home is a good fit is to actually go and visit. See what you think of the people you meet, the food they serve, and the overall atmosphere of the facility. While it may be worth considering if your nursing home is nonprofit or not, you’ll learn more from a visit than from examining a facility’s tax status.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for


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