(9 March 2022) French TV programme Cash Investigation recently released an expose of a care home owned by multinational company Korian.
Journalist Maria Maurice filmed the investigation via a hidden camera. She was given nursing assistant duties for three days without qualifications. During this time she discovered the care home rationed food to residents. There was no qualified nurse to administer medication and the care home lacked adequate staffing. Residents at this home pay around €2,856 per month to receive care in the facility.
Two previous care home managers at Korian stated that they were put under constant pressure to maximise profits for the company. The company owns over 1000 residencies in over 7 countries throughout Europe. In 2021 Korian had a €4.31 billion turnover.
Korian is not the only care company to come under fire. The Orpea Group has been embroiled in scandal since the publication of Les fosseyeurs (The Gravediggers). The book details a similar case of resident abuses and poor working conditions, including staff shortages and rationing food. There are further reports that illegal temporary contracts are being used by the company.
A recent report by CICTAR with EPSU affiliate unions CGT and CFDT details how Orpea has expanded its property portfolio to €7.4 billion via external debt and public funds which they have begun to sell back to investors in order to gain returns for their shareholders.
Profit motivated care impacts both staff and residents through cost-cutting measures. The abuse of both public funding and residents’ funds to maximise pay-outs to shareholders results in poor conditions for residents and staff.
Meanwhile, the United States is cracking down on unsafe staffing levels and poor quality care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is in the consultation stages to implement minimum staffing requirements. In addition, there are plans to implement single occupancy rooms to prevent overcrowding and crackdown on the inappropriate use of anti-psychotic medications. A recent White House statement was particularly harsh on for-profit care, citing research showing that “private equity-owned nursing homes tend to have significantly worse outcomes for residents.”