Costs of Nursing Home and Assisted Living Care Rise, New Study Says

The costs for nursing home and assisted living care have increased for a fifth consecutive year, a new study by Genworth Financial reports.  The average cost for a private room in a nursing home rose 17 percent from $65,185 in 2004 to $76,460 ($209 per day).  The average cost for assisted living care facilities rose 25 percent from $28,763 in 2004 to $36,090.  Read more about Genworth's research, including the curent and projected costs of care for each state. 

The survey, which reviewed data from more than 10,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities nationwide, suggests that costs could continue to increase as the demand for nurses and aides outstrips the supply of available workers.  A spokesperson for Genworth Financial said the demand for long term care caused by aging Baby Boomers will require an additional 200,000 nurses and aides per year to join the work force.  A simultaneous Genworth Financial study found that low wages and benefits, a lack of training, and a lack of career advancement potential make it more difficult to attract and keep workers in the long term care industry.

Let me see if I understand . . .  nursing homes are receiving 17% more money today than they received just several years ago to compensate them for their increased cost, assisted living facilities are receiving 25% more, and nurses and aides are still getting paid so little that no one wants to work in the long term care industry, which caused the costs to go up in the first place.  That sounds a lot like what big oil companies are doing to us right now -- they control the flow of gas to the public, watch prices at the pump go up, and laugh all the way to the bank. 

I've got a novel idea -- why don't health care providers share with their health care workers some of their increased revenues.  As nurses and aides get paid more, they feel more appreciated and provide better care, and more workers become motivated to enter and stay in the health care industry, thereby driving down the cost of nursing home and assisted living care for all of us.  Just a thought!
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.



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