Tag Archives: staffing

Staffing in nursing homes matters when combating COVID-19

senior wearing a mask

Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

Why are some nursing homes doing so much better at containing the coronavirus among residents and staff than others? Testing, adequate protective gear and the ability to isolate infected residents are all important factors. Another key contributor is sufficient staffing, according to a recent research letter in JAMA.

Nursing homes that rated better on staffing had fewer COVID-19 cases than those facilities with poorer staffing ratings. Approximately 27% of deaths due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have occurred among residents of nursing homes, researchers noted in the August 10 letter. (The New York Times estimated closer to 40% if workers are included.) It seems like a no-brainer that more staff might result in fewer cases. Continue reading

Staffing levels, not just hotspots, can predict nursing home COVID deaths, study says

Photo: Zeev Barkan via Flickr

Since the first COVID-19 outbreak in a Seattle-area nursing home in February, at least 55,000 deaths, more than 42% of the U.S. total, have been linked to nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities as of July 7, according to a national database compiled by The New York Times.

Now a new academic study supports what many already suspected: residents of long-term care facilities with lower nurse staffing levels, poorer quality scores, and higher concentrations of disadvantaged residents suffer from higher rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. Continue reading

Despite violation records, nursing homes seek liability waivers during pandemic


Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

Despite a recent GAO report detailing persistent infection control violations at nursing homes throughout the United States, many states are waiving liability for these facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, at least 20 states have issued executive orders or enacted legislation temporarily absolving long-term care and assisted living facilities unless “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct” can be proven. Continue reading

How are nursing homes doing when it comes to staffing? This tool helps you find out

Photo: Pennsylvania DMVA via Flickr

Staffing is perhaps the most important factor in a nursing home resident’s quality of care and the ability to live with dignity. Unfortunately, inadequate nursing home staffing is a widespread and persistent problem. Some nursing homes provide proper care, ensuring that their facilities have enough qualified care staff. However, many nursing homes still fail to maintain safe and sufficient staffing.

You can get staffing information from CMS’ payroll-based journal data, but there’s another tool that makes it pretty simple for reporters and consumers to find out whether nursing homes in their state meet requirements. Continue reading

Data can help reporters investigate staffing levels in area nursing homes

Photo: Jason Dorn via Flickr

PBJ stands for Payroll-Based Journal, a new data set for nursing home staffing from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). It turns out it’s a goldmine for reporters trying to figure out whether skilled nursing facilities are fulfilling care and quality requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

It took time, effort, and knowledge gained from a prior class in SQL, but Kaiser Health News reporter Jordan Rau crunched the data to determine whether nursing homes might be inflating their staffing reports — a move that directly impacts the star quality ratings at Nursing Home Compare. Continue reading