Illinois Nursing Home Workers Fighting for $15 an hour Wage

Nursing home daily rates are usually above $100 per day and can be higher than $400 per day, as the Caregiverlist Nursing Home Costs directory shows. Many Illinois nursing homes charge more than $300 per day for a private room and the median cost for a single room is $208 per day. Studies show that nursing home workers are among the most underpaid working women and men in the country with 1 in 3 nursing assistants relying on public assistance for some of their family's living needs.

Chicago Illinois nursing home workers participated in rallies on Thursday, April 14, 2017, to showcase their need for a higher hourly pay rate, seeking $15 per hour. Politicians, including two high-profile Democratic candidates for governor, Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker, joined the rallies.

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The Paraprofessional Health Institute reports in their research that nursing assistants and workers providing laundry, food and housekeeping services are underpaid, often viewed "as a cost to be managed rather than an asset to invest." Keeping the wage floor low leads to 50% of nursing home workers leaving their positions each year and adds to the dramatically growing gap in available trained long-term care providers.

Nursing homes employ Certified Nursing Assistants (C.N.A.'s) who must meet minimum training requirements and pass a state certification exam to care for residents.

  • 91% of Nursing Assistants are Women
  • 1 in 3 C.N.A.'s rely on taxpayer-funded public benefits such as food stamps, energy assistance or Medicaid
  • Insufficient staffing levels contribute to high injury rates and high turnover
  • The average turnover for nursing assistants exceeded 50% in 2012
  • More than 1.3 million older Americans and people with disabilities currently reside in nursing homes
  • 10,000 Americans turn age 65 daily and the number of older Americans age 85+ will triple by 2050
How difficult would it be for a nursing home to pay more? Medicaid, the government program for low-income seniors, reimburses nursing homes for their fees for seniors on Medicaid. Medicare, for all seniors age 65 and over, pays for up-to-100 days in a nursing home. Others must private pay for the rooms. Review the cost of nursing homes near you. 

C.N.A.'s continue to be in demand and can always find local hospitals, nursing homes, and senior care companies hiring. Learn more about caregiver and C.N.A. jobs and training near you and submit a job application to be considered for openings. Caregivers may provide one-on-one care in the home for a senior and gain skills with an online caregiver training course. C.N.A.'s working in nursing homes may care for as many as 12 or more residents.


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