What State is the Best in Nursing Home Care?

What State is the Best in Nursing Home Care?

If you’re looking at a nursing home care for yourself or for a parent, there are many factors to consider and expenses to navigate. KAKE.com’s recent article, “Best States for Nursing Home Care–2019 Edition,” ranked the states on the following metrics:

  • Nursing homes per 10,000 seniors
  • Nurse staffing hours per resident per day
  • Average fine amount incurred by nursing homes
  • Percentage of long-stay residents with depressive symptoms
  • Percentage of long-stay residents with worsening health
  • Percentage of short-stay residents with improvements in function
  • Percentage of short-stay residents assessed and given the flu vaccine appropriately
  • Average cost of nursing home care

The state with the highest cost of nursing home care in the study is Alaska. According to Genworth Cost of Care Survey data, the average annual cost of nursing home care in the state is $351,495. That is more than six times the cost in Oklahoma—the state in the study with the lowest average annual cost.   For Massachusetts, the Genworth Survey provides that the annual median cost of nursing home care is $162,608 in the Boston area.    While that is the median according to Genworth,  it is not unusual to see costs between $15,000 to $17,000 per month, or $180,000 to $204,000 per year in the area.   An elder law attorney can help you in planning for long term care.

  1. Arkansas. The “Toothpick State” leads the way with the fifth-least expensive average cost of nursing home care in the country, at just over $64,000. Arkansas also ranks 10th overall in terms of nursing homes per 10,000 seniors, at 4.63. The average fine amount for a facility in Arkansas is $16,180, which ranks in the middle of the study.
  2. North Dakota. North Dakota leads the study in its percentage of short-stay residents with improvement in function (78.14%), according to Medicare data. They’re fifth for the number of nursing homes per 10,000 seniors (7.10). While ND ranks in the top 10 for some other metrics, including daily nurse staffing hours per resident and low average fine amount, one area where it doesn’t place as well is the average cost of nursing home care: the average cost is $132,320, the fifth-most expensive amount in the study.
  3. Mississippi. The Magnolia State takes third place, with the sixth-highest rate of short-stay residents assessed, at 88.65%. It also ranks in the top 10 of the study for the average fine amount of just $6,231 and the relatively low 1.49% of long-stay residents showing depressive symptoms. The average cost of nursing home care in Mississippi is $80,300.
  4. Minnesota. The Gopher State ranks eighth in the study for the average fine amount ($5,658). Minnesota is seventh for short-stay residents showing functional improvement (74.34%). However, the average cost of nursing home care is at the bottom half of the study at $109,500.
  5. California. The Golden State ranks well in terms of the efficacy of its nursing homes, with the lowest rate in the study of depressive symptoms for long-stay residents (0.73%). California has the second-lowest rate of long-stay residents with worsening health at 13.83% and the seventh-highest rate of short-stay residents assessed at 88.42%. California ranks 31st overall in terms of cost with an average of $100,375 per year and in the bottom 10 of the study for nursing homes per 10,000 seniors at 2.17.
  6. Nebraska. The Cornhusker State has the fourth-highest number in the study of nursing homes per 10,000 seniors, at 7.15. It also has the fifth-highest rate of short-stay residents showing improvements in function, at 76.01%. Nebraska has a top-20 rate for cost, with an average cost of nursing home care of $82,855 per year.
  7. Louisiana. The Pelican State enjoys the fourth-lowest average cost for nursing home care in the study ($62,780) and the seventh-lowest average fine amount that nursing homes in the state incur ($4,998). Louisiana has top-10 percentages for of long-stay residents reporting depressive symptoms (1.10%), and only 15.61% of long-stay residents show worsening health.
  8. Missouri. The average cost of nursing home care in Missouri is only $60,225—the third-lowest overall. There are 5.19 nursing homes per 10,000 seniors in Missouri, the seventh-highest amount in the study. The Show-Me State also has the fourth-lowest percentage of worsening health for short-stay residents (14.86%). It’s one of the cheapest states to buy a home, which may be ideal for those who are considering relocating to be closer to family.
  9. Utah. The Beehive State has the eighth-lowest average cost of nursing home care in this study at $73,000 per year. Utah also has the sixth-lowest rate of worsening health in long-stay residents (15.51%), and the 10th-highest rate of short-stay residents being assessed (86.57%).
  10. Alabama (tie). In Alabama, a year of nursing home care costs $75,347 on average. That’s the 10th-lowest rate in this study. The Yellowhammer State finishes in the top five for long-stay residents. Only 1.08% of long-stay residents show depressive symptoms, and only 14.62% show worsening health.
  11. Arizona (tie for #10). The Grand Canyon State has the fourth-lowest average fine amount on this study ($2,582). The state leads the study when it comes to the percentage of short-stay residents getting assessed at 91.25%. The average cost of nursing care is $77,928 per year, a top-15 rate.

Reference: KAKE.com (October 9, 2019) “Best States for Nursing Home Care – 2019 Edition”