Changes in nursing home ownership may cause patient-centered care to suffer, according to a study published in the Journal of Aging and Social Policy.

Maryland nursing homes were analyzed in 2012 based on whether facilities had an ownership change in 2011, and their overall care ratings were examined afterward. Twenty-two of the facilities had new ownership that year and showed significant decreases in care ratings given by residents and family members. Factors evaluated included staff members, care processes, food, residents’ rights and physical aspects of the facility.

In fact, ratings among nursing homes that changed ownership scored 0.71 points lower on resident surveys than the nursing homes that did not change hands, said study report author Lauren Campbell, of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Additionally, family members were asked whether they would recommend the nursing home to others who needed care, and those who went through new ownership changes had 8.6% fewer recommendations.

“When you’re asking people about moving relatives into a nursing home, they don’t care about the facility’s pressure ulcer rate. They care about how the patient is going to feel and be taken care of,” Campbell told McKnight’s. “Although it’s [ownership change] not something we can control, nursing home managers need to implement policies for when this is happening that might help curve some of the negative effects on resident care.”

The Maryland Health Care Commission publicly reported experience-with-care survey results on its website, encouraging nursing homes to improve quality and patient-centered care.