All That Glitters is Not Good Health Care: The “Chandelier Effect” in Nursing Homes

All That Glitters is Not Good Health Care: The “Chandelier Effect” in Nursing Homes

{3:05 minutes to read} A disturbing trend is emerging in the American nursing homes industry: In their ambitious race for Medicare dollars, nursing homes are shifting their marketing focus to attract short-term rehabilitation patients. The reason for this is that although Medicare does not pay for long-term stays, it generally will cover short-term, post-hospital rehab stays, and pays nursing homes more than Medicaid.

They are luring patients who are discharged from hospitals by offering “luxurious,” “5-star” and enticing amenities, such as:

  • spa-like baths and showers;
  • golf and other recreation facilities;
  • luxury living quarters; and
  • beautifully decorated lobbies.

These upscale features conjure images of a stay at a swanky hotel, rather than the typical nursing home. Problems arise when patients realize the quality of care isn’t “5-star,” too. A woman entered a government-rated 5-star facility in Philadelphia, which had stylish decorations, but she ended up in the emergency room due to bed sores. The nursing home had never given her a full bath or shower, never changed her diaper, and didn’t turn her in her bed.

Although they may have attractive furnishings, many nursing homes are ill-equipped to handle the short-term, acute medical needs of patients. The facilities are stuck in an older profit model. They simply don’t hire enough nurses, aides or doctors to properly care for patients.

In fact, a recent New York Times article reports that the Department of Health and Human Services found that 22% of Medicare patients who stayed in a nursing home for 35 days or less were harmed, as a result of inadequate nursing home care. The report estimated that Medicare spent an additional $2.8 billion on hospital treatment because of harm experienced in nursing facilities.

People who need short-term nursing care should be aware of the Chandelier Effect and really try to find out whether the nursing facility can address their immediate medical needs, before they are admitted.

Call us at 212-809-4293 if you have any questions or if you’ve been harmed by the Chandelier Effect.


Ron Katter

Katter Law Firm
Phone: 844-WAS-HURT
Alt Phone: 212-809-4293

Skip to content