In Louisiana, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the senior population at 15.9% of all residents or nearly 740,000 seniors. The Department of Health and Human Services recently published a study which notes that 70% of seniors will need some form of long-term support service at some point. 

Nursing home care is the highest tier of care available and offers health care and other services around the clock. A nursing home is often the long-term care option of choice for seniors who need temporary rehabilitation services that might be difficult to deliver at home or assistance managing chronic illnesses for frail seniors who need regular visits from nurses and other health care providers. 

While skilled nursing facilities offer the highest levels of care, it also comes with the highest price tag. The average cost of a semi-private room is $5,536 per month while private rooms average $5,840.

This guide offers an in-depth look at the costs and assistance programs available for nursing home care in Louisiana, along with information about other resources that may be helpful to those seeking to delay nursing home placement. 

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Louisiana

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020, Louisiana seniors can expect to pay an average of $5,536 per month for nursing home care. The national average is $7,756, which means Louisiana residents save approximately $2,200 per month. Seniors in neighbouring Texas have even more affordable options because the average cost is more than $500 less than in Louisiana. In Oklahoma, costs are comparable at $5,323, and in Arkansas, seniors pay nearly $400 more per month. In Mississippi, the cost of nursing home care is much more expensive at approximately $1,500 more per month.  

$5536

Louisiana

$7756

The United States

$5019

Texas

$5323

Oklahoma

$5931

Arkansas

$7057

Mississippi

Location within Louisiana can play an important role in determining costs for nursing home care. The closer a resident is to the Mississippi border, the more expensive care tends to be. Proximity to the coast also tends to mean higher costs. For example, Houma and New Orleans are two of the most expensive areas in the state, and both are in the eastern half of the state on the Gulf Coast. Houma seniors can expect to pay an average of $6,068 per month, and New Orleans is not far behind at $5,931. Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Lafayette are all near the state average at $5,536, $5,597 and $5,627, respectively. Seniors living in the western part of the state, particularly up near the northern border can expect to see some of the most affordable nursing home costs. In Monroe, the average is only $4,490, which is $1,046 less than the state average. In Hammond, costs are similar at $5,019 per month. 

$4490

Monroe

$5019

Hammond

$5536

Shreveport

$5597

Baton Rouge

$5627

Lafayette

$5880

Lake Charles

$5931

New Orleans

$6068

Houma

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in Louisiana

Most people do not pay for skilled nursing care entirely out-of-pocket. Rather, they utilize financial assistance programs to help cover the cost of nursing care. Of the public financial assistance programs, Medicaid provides the most comprehensive coverage of nursing home care, but not all seniors are eligible for Medicaid. Because each state operates its own Medicaid program within federal guidelines, eligibility and benefits vary from state to state. Below, we provide more information on Medicaid in Louisiana.

Louisiana’s Medicaid Program

As of August 2020, Louisiana had enrolled 1,629,675 residents in Medicaid or CHIP programs. Medicaid for seniors includes a variety of programs designed to offer long-term support services to the elderly and disabled. Services are often offered on an as-needed basis to those with the most financial need. Waiver programs may have waitlists for those who apply. 

For seniors with a functional and financial need for assistance, Louisiana Medicaid pays the cost of nursing home care for disabled adults and seniors aged 65 or older. Functional requirements mean that a senior must have a documented medical need for constant skilled nursing care or around-the-clock assistance. For those who need intermittent assistance, nursing home coverage is typically not covered, but home and community based waivers may be available. Louisiana is home to 277 registered nursing homes according to U.S. News and World Report. Facilities can range in size from units that accept fewer than 25 residents up to large communities with more than 200 residents. 

Medicaid Eligibility in Louisiana

To qualify for Medicaid in Louisiana, seniors must be a legal resident of the state, a U.S. citizen or past the 5-year waiting period, have a Social Security number and meet all financial and functional requirements for the program. 

In 2020, seniors are limited to no more than three times the SSI Federal benefit rate in income. Sometimes, they can earn more if they have a demonstrated financial need due to spend-down for medical care costs. Seniors are limited to no more than $2,000 in countable assets for individuals or $3,000 for married couples. 

Alternative Financial Assistance Options

  • Medicare: Medicare will cover the cost of one’s care in a skilled nursing facility for the first 20 days of their stay, and a portion of the costs up until day 100. After 100 days, the individual is responsible for all costs. Seniors must also have a “qualifying hospital stay” of at least 3 days prior to their admission to a nursing home in order to qualify for Medicare coverage.
  • Aid and Attendance: Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for skilled nursing care.
  • Reverse Mortgages: If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for nursing care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home’s equity into cash. This type of funding can be especially useful for married couples when only one partner needs nursing care, as the other residents of the home may continue living there. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be covered for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost of nursing home care, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Louisiana

Free and low-cost resources can help seniors to age in place at home or in a community such as assisted living, saving money and preserving some independence. They may also help seniors transition to nursing home care when the time comes. Below are some resources designed to help Louisiana’s seniors. 

ResourceContact Service
Louisiana Department of Health – Office of Aging and Adult Services


(225) 342-9500The Office of Aging and Adult Services acts as a one-stop help center for seniors seeking financial assistance with the costs of nursing home care. This agency handles Medicaid applications and applications for waiver services that may help pay some or all of the costs associated with long term support services. Income and eligibility limits apply. 
Louisiana Options in Long-Term Care(877) 456-1146Seniors seeking help understanding or applying for Medicaid programs that offer financial help with nursing home placement can contact the Louisiana Options in Long-Term Care helpline for assistance. This program can provide information and application assistance for those who immediately qualify for Medicaid and those who may qualify under the Medically Needy expansion. 
Area Agency on AgingMultipleArea Agencies on Aging provide seniors with access to a diverse array of services designed to delay nursing home admission, when possible. Services may include access to transportation, meal delivery, in-home care assistance, home modifications and many other options. 
Senior Health Insurance Information Program(800) 259-5300To help seniors get the most out of Medicare and Medicaid benefits, SHIIP provides free and unbiased counseling and benefits explanations. Seniors selecting between original Medicare and Medicare Part C may find the service particularly useful when determining what, if any, long-term care may be covered. 
Department of Health and Hospitals(225) 342-9500The Department of Health and Hospitals publishes an ebook that offers quick access to information about nursing home services, patients’ rights and other topics related to long-term care that may help when making decisions about providing care for a loved one. The guide also includes information on paying for nursing home care. 

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Louisiana

Licensing RequirementsThe Louisiana Department of Health, Health Standards Section issues all nursing home licenses throughout the state. To qualify, facilities must submit an annual application along with any required fees and pass an annual inspection. Licenses are granted for no more than 12 months from the date of issue.
Staffing RequirementsWhile there are no specific staff-to-patient ratios required, Louisiana nursing homes are required to have a full-time staff member as a facility administrator and enough staff on hand to meet the needs of all residents. Direct care staff must have updated personnel records that detail the level of education and experience relevant to the care provided. 
Staff Training RequirementsAll staff must attend an initial orientation before providing direct care to residents. Each year, staff must complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education on topics specific to geriatric care. 
Admission RestrictionsIn Louisiana, an open admission policy that avoids segregation based on race, color or national origin is required and must be followed. In the event that segregation occurs, the facility must document that it is not through a pattern of discriminatory practices.  
Care Planning RequirementsNursing home staff must create a comprehensive care plan for each new resident within 21 days of their admission. Care plans must provide detailed guidance on the scope of care needed by each new resident. When a resident’s needs change, care plans should be updated quickly and accurately. 
Dietary and  Nutritional Services RequirementsNursing homes must serve residents a nourishing and balanced diet each day. Three meals and occasional snacks are typically served, and residents with special dietary considerations must be offered palatable options that meet their requirements. To ensure all residents receive quality nutritional care, facilities must work with a registered dietitian for a minimum of 8 hours per month to create healthy, balanced menus for a variety of dietary preferences. 
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesAny and all rehabilitation services must be provided under the guidance of the attending physician and by a credentialed provider. All rehabilitation services (speech, occupational and physical therapies) must be provided in a safe and accessible location. 
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesResidents in a nursing home may self-administer medications as long as a multidisciplinary team determines it is safe for them to do so. In all other instances, nursing staff will prepare dosages according to written instructions from the prescribing doctor, after prescriptions are filled by a licensed pharmacy. 
Activities Requirements Nursing homes must provide access to regularly scheduled activities available for both individuals and groups, designed to engage residents and improve or maintain physical, mental or social health. Facilities must have an activities director on staff to coordinate and schedule activities. 
Infection Control Requirements Nursing homes must have an infection control committee that meets quarterly to update and assess policies and procedures designed to prevent disease transmission between residents. 
Medicaid CoverageIn Louisiana, seniors who meet the financial and medical criteria are eligible for Medicaid, and it pays for nursing home care when needed. Many nursing homes accept Medicaid payments.