This study is a cross-sectional analysis of Connecticut nursing homes to determine the correlation of nursing home registered nurses (RN staffing), overall quality of care, and concentration of Medicaid or racial and ethnic minority residents with COVID-19 cases and deaths through April 16, 2020.
The authors of this study recognize that older adults are among those at the highest risk for developing severe COVID-19 infections. In Connecticut, the nursing homes shared a total of 11% confirmed cases and 39% total deaths due to COVID-19. Research is urgently needed to understand the transmission in LTC (long term care) facilities and characteristics that are associated with the spread of COVID-19. This study specifically evaluated the association of higher RN staffing levels, overall quality of care (comparing 1- to 3- star facilities vs. 4- or 5- star facilities), the concentration of Medicaid residents, and concentration of racial and ethnic minority residents with numbers of confirmed cases and deaths in nursing homes due to COVID-19.
Results of this study showed the following:
- Fewer confirmed cases or deaths due to COVID-19 were found in nursing homes with higher RN staffing levels (which is consistent with previous studies)
- RN staffing levels were found to have the strongest correlation with nursing homes COVID-19 cases or deaths amongst the three characteristics examined in the study
- Higher predicted numbers of deaths were found in lower star nursing homes and nursing homes with a higher concentration of Medicaid and racial and ethnic minority residents
- Higher confirmed cases or deaths due to COVID-19 were found in nursing homes that were likely large, for-profit facilities associated with a chain and having a higher resident census
The results of this study suggest that going forward CMS and state nursing home inspectors should focus their efforts on those facilities with lower RN staffing levels, lower quality ratings, and nursing homes caring for facilities with higher Medicaid or racial and ethnic minority resident populations to better help LTC facilities combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Note: The above findings contrast results found by other recently published studies.
Tags: Older adults, Nursing homes