555 of the US’s 15,500 nursing homes have closed between June 2015 and June 2019 – almost 300 in the past two years – representing about 4% of the total number of facilities in operation – according to a report by LeadingAge, which represents Not For Profits with around 2,000 homes across the US.
Critically, the report found the quality was not a factor in closures – over 40% of the homes that shut their doors during the four-year period had a four- or five-star overall quality rating under the Government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare website.
57% had either a one-, two- or three-star rating.
Like Australia, the report also showed that funding from Medicaid is not covering the costs of care, while occupancy has dropped from 82.3% to 80.5% during the time frame with more people shifting to home and community-based settings (pictured above).
The report recommends several measures to curb the closures, including increased advocacy for additional funding, designating some homes “critical access” and reviewing the current regulations around homes to reduce red tape.
LeadgingAge also advises operators to consider diversifying into community-based settings such as adult day centres, home care and home health.
“By creating robust networks of aging services that meet all sorts of people’s needs, nursing homes cannot not only deliver an integrated network of services, but also create for themselves sustainable, diverse streams of revenue to support the services they promote.”
A sign of things to come for Australia?