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Public Opinion

Published on June 3rd, 2020

Skilled Nursing News (SNN) reported that Americans do not believe that nursing homes did a good job handling the coronavirus.  Public knowledge of the abuse and neglect and short-staffing at nursing homes have always made it difficult for them to change their well earned image of placing profits over people.  The public’s opinion of the industry as a new poll commissioned by SNN found remains poor.

Only 3% of people have a higher opinion of U.S. nursing homes in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a poll SNN conducted in conjunction with the Pittsburgh-based survey and consumer intelligence firm CivicScience.

More than half, or 54%, of respondents said they had a worse opinion, while 43% reported no change in their perception of the industry. That pattern generally held across age groups, though those closest to the age of nursing home residents had the strongest negative feelings, with 62% of respondents aged 55 and older reporting a worse opinion.

Overall, 65% of respondents to the SNN/CivicScience poll said that they were less likely to pursue senior housing for themselves or a loved one in the wake of COVID-19, compared with just 7% who said they were more likely; a further 28% had no change in their opinion on the subject.

Media outlets have reported on many preventable outbreaks in nursing homes in the last month while also pointing out the history of persistent problems with infection control that have plagued the industry for years.  Hopefully, this pandemic will cause the industry to provide adequate numbers of competent and well-trained staff to prevent infections and other contagious diseases.

Some policy experts are hoping that the loss of life in nursing homes will lead state and national leaders to overhaul policies toward the industry, long a stepchild of the health care system.

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