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Nursing Homes in Rhode Island

Though Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, it has a population of 1,059,361 people. Approximately 17.7%, or 188,000 residents, are age 65 and older. As seniors in Rhode Island age, they often find that they need an increased level of medical attention. Rhode Island is home to several top-rated hospitals, including Miriam Hospital which is high-performing in geriatric care, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Nursing homes provide round-the-clock care and nursing assistance to frail seniors. Rhode Island has 80 nursing homes to help its aging population. The 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey estimates the average cost of nursing home care in Rhode Island to be $8,669 a month in a semiprivate room, but that cost can vary depending on location, amenities and services provided. For a private room, that cost increases to $10,220, which is more affordable than neighboring states.

This guide helps seniors and their families find the information they need to choose a nursing home, find home-based care when appropriate and pay for those care options. It also outlines the laws that govern nursing homes in the state and provides resources for seniors and their families.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a fairly affordable cost for long-term care compared to nearby states. In the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average cost for a semiprivate room in a Rhode Island nursing home was $8,669. Seniors in Massachusetts paid significantly more at $12,623. Similarly, in Connecticut, the cost averaged to $12,927. New York seniors also have a high cost at $12,319 a month. Rhode Island’s costs are far closer to those of the nation as a whole than the nearby states. On average, seniors across the nation paid $7,756 a month for nursing home care.

Throughout the state of Rhode Island and its neighbors, costs vary depending on the city where a senior lives. Providence, the capital city of Rhode Island, has an average that’s higher than the state’s average. In 2020 that average was $9,733. In nearby Norwich, Connecticut, the cost for nursing home care jumped to $12,463, and Hartford was even higher at $13,079. In Worcester, Massachusetts, seniors paid on average $12,486. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts, had one of the highest averages at $13,326.



Norwich, CT


Worcester, MA


Hartford, CT


Barnstable Town, MA


Nursing home care may not be the right choice for everyone, and Rhode Island offers other long-term care options. The most affordable choice is adult day care. This provides care during daytime hours at a community-based care center but allows the senior to sleep at home at night. The average cost for this was $1,625. Seniors who choose assisted living communities paid an average of $4,950. Home care, which includes homemaking help and personal care at home, averaged $5,529 a month, while home health care, which adds basic healthcare services, increased the average monthly cost to $5,911.

In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing home care


Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Rhode Island?

Currently, over 340,000 individuals are enrolled in Rhode Island’s Medicaid and CHIP programs, including seniors ages 65 and older. Seniors residing in Rhode Island nursing homes who are Medicaid-enrolled have their room and board covered as well as any medical expenses, therapies, daily living assistance and transportation to medical appointments. Medical equipment, supplies and personal sundry items may also be covered.

Rhode Island has 78 nursing homes, many of which accept Medicaid, with more than 8,000 beds available. Residents who qualify through HealthSource RI receive around-the-clock care from RNs and other healthcare professionals. Costs for other services such as medical transportation to medical specialists, on-site occupational or physical therapies or dental care are also covered. Elders who need a less intensive form of nursing care may be able to receive care at home or in a residential setting such as an assisted living facility. Options for this type of care include PACE, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly and the Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver

Medicaid Eligibility in Rhode Island

Specific income and asset criteria must be met to qualify for Rhode Island’s Medicaid program. Applicants must have little in the way of assets, be considered low to very low income and be 65 and older. A nursing level of care is also required, as determined via a medical screening process by a local registered nurse or social worker from the nearest case management agency.    

All income and assets are counted as part of the financial eligibility determination process. For a single applicant, yearly income cannot exceed $32,904 with no more than $4,000 in total assets. In two-person households where only one person is applying, the same limitations apply, but the non-applicant spouse may retain up to $148,620 in assets as part of the Spousal Impoverishment Act. In cases where both spouses are applying, the income doubles, to $65,808, as does the asset cap, to $8,000.

Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$4,000
Two People1$32,904**$4,000$148,620
Two People 2$65,808***$8,000****

*Except for a $50/mo. personal needs allowance, Medicare premiums and possibly a spousal income allowance for a non-applicant spouse, all of a recipient's monthly income must be put toward the cost of nursing home care.

**Income limit is for applicant only.

***Income is limited to $2,742 per month per spouse.

****Assets are limited to $4,000 per spouse.

Additional qualifications include being a full-time Rhode Island resident and a U.S. citizen or legal resident. 

How to Apply for Medicaid in Rhode Island

To apply for Rhode Island’s Medicaid program, families can utilize the online HealthSource RI portal, where they can upload all documents and complete paperwork electronically. They can also call the Department of Human Services at (855) 697-4347 or download and print a paper application to mail or bring in person to their local DHS Office. All pertinent documents must be collected prior to applying, as the application process can be complicated and lengthy.

Information You Will Need:  


  • Copy of birth certificate 
  • Medicare and Social Security cards
  • Most recent statement showing health insurance premiums 
  • Income verification from all sources including wages, retirement earnings, royalties and interest
  • Most recent statement for all financial accounts such as bank accounts, investments, annuities, 401Ks and IRAs 
  • Life insurance documents
  • Proof of legal resident status
  • Car registration or title and insurance information
  • Five years of bank statements
  • Documents pertaining to family trusts that show all held assets
  • Funeral trust documents with beneficiaries listed
  • Power of attorney documentation, if applicable

Additional Medicaid Support and Resources in Rhode Island

Below is a listing of contact information and a short description of Rhode Island agencies that help elders and their loved ones understand the ins and outs of the often-complicated Medicaid application process and eligibility requirements. 

Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging(401) 462-4444This state agency has connections to numerous local agencies so seniors and their families can get personalized support and access to Medicaid information and other topics pertaining to long-term care.
American Council on AgingOnline OnlyOffering a wealth of Medicaid information, the American Council on Aging has general information about Medicaid income and asset requirements, Medicaid planning assistance and Medicaid care options, including in-home care. A Spend-Down Calculator lets families quickly see how much their loved one would need to spend down to qualify for services. 762-2237A good starting point for families looking to find out basic Medicaid information, is a federal website that provides general eligibility criteria and state links for more in-depth information on how to apply.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Rhode Island?

Medicare provides limited coverage for short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, but seniors must meet a number of specific requirements. This benefit is available to beneficiaries who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge, so it’s most valuable for those who are recovering from an injury, illness or surgery.

Once seniors meet the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing per benefit period. The first 20 days are covered in full. Starting on day 21, beneficiaries must pay a daily coinsurance rate. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:


  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation


What Isn’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

For more information about Medicare and when it covers Nursing Home Care, read our Guide to Nursing Homes.

Medicare Support and Resources in Rhode Island

While Medicare doesn’t directly cover the cost of nursing home care, it can be a very useful healthcare program to use while an elder is still living at home. More details about what Medicare can and cannot cover, how it compares with other programs such as Medicaid and other available supplemental plans are available through the resources listed below. 

SHIP(888) 884-8721Offered through the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides targeted Medicare advice to meet seniors' needs. Counselors meet either in person or over the phone to provide details about claim submissions, review basic Medicare information or suggest subsidized healthcare programs for those who qualify.
BenefitsCheckUp(800) 794-6559Operated under the umbrella of the National Council of Aging, BenefitsCheckUp is a free service that lets individuals enter their zip code to find specific services in their area, including Medicare Savings programs. offers a live chat feature where visitors can have their Medicare questions answered in real time. The site provides information about Medicare costs and how the various plans compare. Individuals can use the search feature to find specific providers or medical equipment suppliers in their area.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Rhode Island

While Medicaid and Medicare are two of the most common programs used to pay for Nursing Home Care, there are other financial assistance options available, depending on your unique situation.

NameHow To ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at 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 MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf 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. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Rhode Island

There are many resources in Rhode Island that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.


Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging401-462-3000The Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging is the state's designated unit on aging. Its vision is to ensure all Rhode Islanders age strongly and have the information and resources they need. Seniors aged 55 and older can receive help obtaining housing, at-home companionship and care, home-delivered meals, transportation and respite care. They can also get legal assistance and referrals and assistance with the cost of prescription drugs, chronic disease management and free health care insurance counseling.
Point: My Options RI ADRC 401-444-0600This free resource provides a range of services for older adults in Rhode Island. People ages 55 and older as well as those living with disabilities can access 24/7 phone support from trained professional counselors. Interpreters at the Point ADRC provide assistance in more than 100 different languages. Family members can seek referrals if a loved one has memory or cognitive symptoms. Other services include help with Medicare, caregiver support, long-term care help and assistance with nutrition, energy and health care.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Rhode Island provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, Rhode Island seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Nursing Home Transition Program401-462-6393The NHTP is an initiative of the Health and Human Services Department that helps current nursing home residents who are moving back to their homes or other community-based settings, such as memory care programs and assisted living.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help Rhode Island seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)855-697-4347The Rhode Island Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps low-income seniors and families obtain healthy food to meet their nutritional needs. To be eligible, households must meet specific income, expenses and resources guidelines. Electronic benefits transfer cards are given to recipients, who can use them like debit cards to purchase qualifying food and beverage items at supermarkets, grocery stores and farmers markets statewide as well as at participating online retailers. It can't be used for alcohol, tobacco or prepared food items.
Rhode Island Community Food Bank 401-942-6325The Rhode Island Community Food Bank works with over 140 member agencies to serve roughly 80,000 state residents per month. Seniors and other Rhode Island residents experiencing food insecurity can contact the RICFB for help finding local food distribution points, applying for SNAP benefits and receiving the federal-level Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The organization also maintains a spice box program that helps participants keep their kitchen pantries stocked with flavoring elements.
Rhode Island Meals on Wheels401-351-6700In Rhode Island, a single organization provides Meals on Wheels throughout the state. Meals are delivered each weekday and provide one-third of the participant's recommended daily dietary intake. The program also provides a daily well-being check and helps to lessen isolation. Other programs offered include cafe programs and pet food delivery.
Rhode Island Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) 401-222-4700The Rhode Island Farmers Market Nutrition Program is a USDA-run and locally officiated initiative aimed at bolstering senior nutrition with seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. It provides eligible Rhode Island adults over 60 with twice-yearly food parcels consisting of fresh produce, honey and herbs sourced from local farmers. Low-income seniors who meet certain household income thresholds can sign up at various locations or online. Pickup locations are situated across Rhode Island, with details also accessible online.

Financial Assistance for Senior Living

Low-income elderly individuals in senior living communities can access financial assistance through local-run programs. These Rhode Island resources offer advice, guidance and support to help older adults pay for the services offered by long-term care providers.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
LeadingAge Rhode Island (LARI)401-490-7612LeadingAge Rhode Island is a not-for-profit organization made up of a group of aging services providers, including nursing homes, day health service providers, senior housing providers and other organizations. It connects seniors to service providers and offers information and advocacy services to help people maintain a high quality of life as they age.
Rhode Island Assisted Living Association401-435-8888RIALA is a nonprofit membership organization comprised mostly of professionals in the assisted living sector. The website can be a great source of information for anyone else interested in learning more about assisted living, such as how it works, how it's paid for and which particular facilities accept public funding sources.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in Rhode Island collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in Rhode Island have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)WAP reduces heating bills by making homes more energy-efficient. Services include installing insulation, reducing drafts and providing proper ventilation. It can also install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Rhode Island Livable Homes Modification Grant Program401-737-1238RI Livable grants can reimburse part of the cost of modifying an existing residence. Modifications can include adding ramps, widening doorways, adding home monitoring systems or installing a back-up electric generator for life-sustaining equipment such as respirators.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Rhode Island seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Disability Rights Rhode Island800-733-5332DRRI is an advocacy group that provides representation to disabled people throughout the state. Although it doesn't provide durable medical equipment directly, it can help people find funding from public sources and may also represent people who have been denied or who are incurring delays in acquiring equipment from Medicare and Medicaid.
Rhode Island Alliance for Better Long Term Care Ombudsman Program 401-785-3340The Rhode Island Alliance for Better Long Term Care Ombudsman Program provides dedicated advocates for seniors residing in shared living situations such as memory care facilities, assisted living communities and nursing homes. Ombudsmen help seniors avoid or fight back against elder abuse and ensure that they're receiving an adequate quality of care. They're also tasked with representing senior interests to local, state and federal government agencies and helping educate the public about issues important to seniors.

Medicaid Resources

Navigating the Medicaid system is often difficult and confusing. Several Rhode Island resources help older adults by providing advice on Medicaid options, waiver programs and eligibility criteria to help seniors receive the right health care benefits.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
RIte @ Home401-462-5274The RIte@Home program is a shared living option available to seniors who can't live independently. Those on the program are matched with a caregiver whom they live with. Their caregiver can be someone they already know, such as a relative or neighbor. The caregiver receives training, support and a stipend for providing services, including personal care, meals, transportation and homemaker services. While the program pays for the caregiver's stipend, funds for room and board are not provided. Some recipients may need to pay a share of the cost, depending on their income.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Rhode Island help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several Rhode Island resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Property Tax Relief Program401-574-8829Rhode Island provides property tax relief to seniors through a tax credit on personal income tax. A percentage of income is allowable as credit, based on the household income.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. Rhode Island retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)LIHWAP helps low-income households maintain access to drinking water and wastewater. One-time payments can be made directly to utility companies for people who have past-due bills and are at risk of having services terminated.
Rhode Island Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)855-697-4347Rhode Island's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps state seniors stay warm during the winter months by providing financial support for heating bills. In addition to making direct payments to energy and utility companies on behalf of program participants, the LIHEAP can assist seniors experiencing heating emergencies due to shutoff notices or malfunctioning equipment. To qualify, seniors must make no more than 60% of the Rhode Island median income level. The application period is from September to May.

Veteran's Services

Rhode Island retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Rhode Island VA Benefits and Health CareSeniors who served in the military can receive a wide range of assistance through the Rhode Island VA Benefits and Health Care program. These benefits include long-term support, routine and specialized care at VA medical centers and income support, including service-connected disability payments and retirement pensions. Veterans can access services at offices and clinics in Providence, Warwick and Middletown.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Rhode Island

Licensing RequirementsUnder Rhode Island state law, all nursing homes in Rhode Island must be licensed through the Department of Health.
Staffing RequirementsUnder current legislation, Rhode Island nursing homes must have sufficient nursing staff to provide a minimum of 4.1 hours of direct nursing care per resident every day. That includes 2.8 hours of care from a certified nursing assistant.All nursing homes must have a registered nurse on duty at all times. They also must employ a director of nursing. Nursing staff hours spent on non-direct caregiving tasks cannot count toward minimum staffing hours.
Staff Training RequirementsStaff must meet all training and licensing requirements to work as registered nurses or certified nursing assistants based on Rhode Island regulations.
Admission RestrictionsLong-term care facilities can only admit residents if they have the specialized services needed to meet their unique, individual medical needs.
Care Planning RequirementsEach resident has the right to a personal medical care plan. That plan must be made in collaboration with a registered nurse and attending physician. It also must be based on a physical exam done within the first 48 hours of admission or within the five days prior to admission.
Dietary and Nutritional Services RequirementsLong-term care facilities must produce menus that meet the nutritional needs outlined in the Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Menus must be planned at least one week in advance and shall include snacks between the evening meal and bedtime. All menus must be posted in a public place and kept on file for at least 30 days. Finally, diets must be planned to accommodate any physician's orders for individual residents.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesRhode Island nursing homes are required to provide specialized rehabilitative services according to the order of the attending physician. These services include:Speech pathologyAudiologyOccupational therapyThese services must be provided through professionally licensed therapists or assistants.
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesMedications must be administered according to attending physicians. Medications must be checked against the doctor's orders, and residents must be identified before administering a medication. Facilities must maintain an individual medication record for each resident that records the medications given and their doses.
Activities RequirementsResidents have the right to participate in activities of social, religious and community groups as they wish unless they are medically unable to do so. Facilities are also required to provide an activities program that promotes social, cognitive and physical activity.
Infection Control RequirementsNursing homes must maintain facility-wide infection surveillance programs to help protect residents from contagious infections. This should include plans for isolating residents with known infectious diseases.If an infectious disease presents, the facility must report it to the Rhode Island Department of Health, Division of Preparedness, Response, Infectious Disease and EMS.
Medicaid CoverageRhode Island Medicaid pays for nursing home care for residents who are financially eligible and medically in need of nursing care. Medicaid must be used at Medicaid-approved facilities.

Directory of Nursing Home Facilities in Rhode Island

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Nursing Home in Rhode Island

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