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Staffing and Infection Control

Published on June 24th, 2020

McKnight’s reported on something that seemed apparent to those of us that follow the nursing home industry:  Poorly managed nursing homes with low staffing and quality scores have higher rates of COVID-19 deaths and cases among residents, according to data published in a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  Most of these are for-profit national chains.

Facilities with more registered nurses on duty had 22% fewer confirmed coronavirus cases when compared to those with lower RN staffing levels, a University of Rochester research team found.

Our findings of the strong negative association between RN staffing and the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes are consistent with research that has demonstrated that increased nursing levels are key to an institution’s ability to respond to outbreaks of emerging infections,” Yue Li, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Public Health Sciences and lead author of the study, said in a release.

“In nursing homes, quality and staffing are important factors, and there already exists system-wide disparities in which facilities with lower resources and higher concentrations of socio-economically disadvantaged residents have poorer health outcomes,” Li said. “These same institutional disparities are now playing out during the coronavirus pandemic.”

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