A group of nursing home residents

A popular rating website says Arizona’s high nursing home quality scores and sheer number of facilities help make it the best state in the US for long-term care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Idaho and Missouri followed in the ratings as a close second and third, respectively, in ValuePenguin’s latest poll.

The District of Columbia was deemed “the worst state” for long-term care — “even though it ranks among the highest for quality of care.” DC has a lower density of long-term care facilities and medical professionals than most states, and it’s among the most expensive states for skilled care, explained ValuePenguin. 

“[T]hose who can overcome these cost and access issues do well, as D.C. ranks in the top five in three of four quality-of-care metrics,” the company noted. 

Wyoming and New Hampshire are the second and third lowest-ranked states, respectively.

ValuePenguin researchers used three overall metrics: cost, access to care and quality of care at each state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Data figuring in calculations came from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Census Bureau, the American Council on Aging and SeniorLiving.org.

ValuePenguin is a 9-year-old financial information resources company that was acquired by Lending Tree, a leader in digital comparison shopping, in 2019.

Despite its glowing review, Arizona also has the dubious distinction of requiring the lowest number of nurse staffing hours per resident day — less than one hour per day. On the other end of the spectrum, 16 states require 4.1 or more hours per resident per day, according to the analysis. 

Meanwhile, Arizona tops the list for long-term care, with quality and cost playing key roles. Particularly, the state ranks eighth for nursing home costs. Arizona is also in the top 10 for several quality metrics, including its high average Quality of Patient Care Star Rating and its low percentage of long-stay residents with an increased need for help with daily activities.

Other report highlights:

 •  In Alaska, a shared room at a nursing home costs an average of $378,140 annually, or $1,036 a day — the highest in the nation. Additionally, assisted living facilities in the state cost an average of $81,690 annually, second-highest in the US (behind DC). And home health care aide workers make an average of $34,900 — fourth-highest in the nation.

•  Texas and Missouri were deemed the most affordable states for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, respectively. The annual average cost of nursing care in Texas is $61,503. In Missouri, assisted living averages $36,000 annually.