The number of nursing home beds in the U.S. is fast declining, according to a new analysis commissioned by the American Health Care Association, a nursing home trade group.

According to the study,

  • 21 percent of nursing home operators have downsized – dropped beds or units.
  • 55 percent have turned away people seeking nursing home beds.
  • 48 percent have waiting lists.
  • 579 facilities have closed since 2020, and along with them, the supply of nursing home beds fell by more than 45,000.

Nursing home operators cite a number of reasons for the decline, including current reimbursement practices – especially for Medicaid patients – workforce shortages, and difficulty securing financing for improvements and new or replacement facilities.

Meanwhile, hospitals frequently report keeping patients after they no longer require acute care because they cannot find suitable long-term-care facilities in which to place them.

Such problems, moreover, are occurring throughout the country.

Learn more about the problem of the declining number of nursing home beds and the challenge of staffing those that remain from the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News story “AHCA offers ‘wake-up call’ on bed and facility counts: 446,000 residents may be displaced;” the Wall Street Journal article “The Upheaval at America’s Disappearing Nursing Homes, in Charts;” and anecdotal reports of nursing home closures and challenges in Iowa, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.