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3 hazards of starting a nursing home business

Photo Credit: Peshkova

Entrepreneurship is inherently risky. Your business could fail or you could lose money. You might discover that you don’t have the skills you once thought you did. However, while professional risk can be unavoidable, some undertakings are more challenging than others and come with greater hazards. Nursing homes are one of those businesses.

Why is starting a nursing home so dangerous? Simply put, people’s lives are on the line. You’re dealing with an underserved and vulnerable population and the industry itself is plagued with scandals. If you’re considering opening a nursing home, you need to be alert to these 3 potential dangers – they could be your downfall.

Costs Versus Care

There’s a great deal of demand for skilled nursing care, in part because the United States population is aging rapidly. That’s not the only reason, though. Another reason that there’s so much demand for nursing home beds is that homes regularly close as reimbursements can’t keep up with the labor costs and other expenses involved in providing care.

If you’re considering opening a nursing home or a related facility, be prepared for the high cost of labor, as well as facility overhead. Nursing homes need to be staffed around the clock and there’s often a limited pool of applicants, which means that you’ll likely be paying overtime to the staff you do have, particularly to LPNs and RNs. Without medical professionals – as opposed to CNAs – patients’ health can be put at risk.

Danger All Around

As noted above, many nursing homes are understaffed and this regularly leads to facility closures. Most don’t close voluntarily, though. Rather, they close after patients are found to have bedsores, a sign of neglect, or other major preventable health issues. These problems can lead to expensive lawsuits, investigations, and bad press, and they can also lead to the facility’s license being revoked.

How can you prevent these sorts of injuries? The answer often involves putting staff at risk or hiring from a nonexistent pool. Staff need to lift and turn patients regularly to prevent bedsores, which can lead to worker injuries. And if there aren’t enough staff, they physically can’t turn patients frequently enough in the course of their workday to prevent bedsores. The same is true of many other patient health issues.

The Issue Of Abuse

Despite what demand would suggest, many people are hesitant to place their relatives in nursing homes today because they’ve been told that these facilities are dangerous. They’re not entirely wrong. There have been countless cases of patient abuse by providers, medication error, and issues with food preparation and food safety, among other concerns. Operating a successful nursing home means battling against all of these preconceived notions and then preventing the issues that plague other facilities from manifesting in yours.

A detailed nursing home business plan can help you meet your goals and provide the kind of care your patients deserve, but on its own a plan isn’t enough. All of those other nursing homes had a business plan, too. To succeed, you also need to hold yourself to a higher standard than your competitors, all while fighting market trends, dealing with challenging patients and families, and managing the growing pains any business experiences. It will be stressful and risky, but if you’re committed, it may also be the most rewarding thing you do with your life.