Nursing homes in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Nursing homes are a type of long-term care facility for people who do not need to stay in a hospital, but, for medical reasons, cannot live on their own. Most nursing home residents are elderly, but younger adults with mental or physical disabilities may also stay at such facilities. In the United States, the majority of nursing homes are certified by both Medicare and Medicaid, while a decreasing number are certified by only one or the other.

In 2014, there were approximately 15,640 nursing homes in the United States, almost 11,000 of which were for profit. Nursing homes can vary significantly in size and, in 2014, about 2,022 nursing homes in the U.S. had less than 50 beds, while around 6,900 had between 100 and 199 beds. Nursing care facilities employed over 1.8 million people in 2015, an increase from 1.6 million in the year 2000. As of 2015, Genesis HealthCare was the nursing home chain with the highest number of nursing homes, with 419 such facilities.

In 2015, the state of California had the highest number of nursing homes of any U.S. state with 1,219 facilities, followed by Texas and Ohio with 1,212 and 951 respectively. In that year, Alaska had the fewest nursing homes, but had the highest annual cost for a private room in nursing homes in 2016. A private room in a nursing home in Alaska cost 297,840 U.S. dollars per year on average, while a private room in Connecticut, the second most expensive state, cost 160,600 dollars per year. Some nursing homes have special care units for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or serious dementia, as these diseases are common among the elderly and such patients can require special or increased care. In 2014, almost 10 percent of all nursing home beds in Colorado were Alzheimer’s special care unit beds, highlighting the demand for such care.

The elderly account for the vast majority of nursing home residents in the U.S. The largest share of residents are aged between 85 and 94 years, accounting for one third of all residents. Women are also nursing home residents at higher rates than men, with around 11.2 percent of all women aged over 85 years living in a nursing home in 2014, compared to 6.1 percent of men in the same age group. Common medical issues among nursing home residents include bladder and bowel incontinence, depression, weight loss, and pressure sores. Additionally, around 36.6 percent of all nursing home residents in 2014 had severe cognitive impairment.

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