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Average Length of Nursing Home Stay

Summary: How long will you stay in a nursing home, if admitted to one? An analysis of data from the 1999 Nursing Home Survey

How long will you stay in a nursing home, if admitted to one?

The overall average length of stay computed from the 1999 Nursing Home Survey for DISCHARGED residents is 388 days, or just over 1 year. Using discharge data from this survey, it appears that the average length of a nursing home stay for people admitted to a nursing home when they are age 45 or older is:

MenWomen
79%74%
1-3 Years 13%13%
3-5 Years 4%6%
5 years + 4%7%

When planning ahead for the financial burden of long term care you need to decide how you will handle the not-insignificant risk of a very lengthy stay rather than planning for the 'average' length of stay of one year.

Summary: How long will you stay in a nursing home, if admitted to one? An analysis of data from the 1999 Nursing Home Survey

How long will you stay in a nursing home, if admitted to one?

The overall average length of stay computed from the 1999 Nursing Home Survey for DISCHARGED residents is 388 days, or just over 1 year. Using discharge data from this survey, it appears that the average length of a nursing home stay for people admitted to a nursing home when they are age 45 or older is:

MenWomen
79%74%
1-3 Years 13%13%
3-5 Years 4%6%
5 years + 4%7%

When planning ahead for the financial burden of long term care you need to decide how you will handle the not-insignificant risk of a very lengthy stay rather than planning for the 'average' length of stay of one year. Also keep in mind that very short stays of one month or less will probably be excluded from coverage by long term care insurance (which typically has elimination periods of up to 3 months before coverage begins), but may be covered by Medicare.

The overall average length of stay computed from CURRENT resident data shows that an average length of stay of 901 days, which is 30 months or about 2.5 years. The average length of stay for DISCHARGED residents is 388 days, or just over 1 year. Many people use the first figure when discussing the average length of a nursing home stay, but I think the DISCHARGE data is more meaningful. Read Why.

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