Severe Staffing And Personal Protective Equipment Shortages Faced By Nursing Homes During The COVID-19 Pandemic

By Brian E. McGarry, David C. Grabowski, and Michael L. Barnett: For Entire Post, Go Here…


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to devastate U.S. nursing homes.

Adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing are critical to protect nursing home residents and staff during future COVID-19 outbreaks. Despite the importance of these basic measures, little national data is available about the state of nursing homes with respect to these resources.

This paper presents results from a new national database containing 98% of U.S. nursing homes. We find that more than 1 in 5 nursing homes report a severe shortage of PPE and any shortage of staff.

Rates of both staff and PPE shortages did not meaningfully improve from May to July of 2020. Facilities with COVID-19 cases among residents and staff, as well as those serving more Medicaid recipients and with lower quality scores, were more likely to report shortages.

Policies aimed at providing resources to obtain additional direct care staff and PPE to these vulnerable nursing homes, particularly in areas with rising community COVID-19 case rates, are needed to reduce the national COVID-19 death toll. [Editor’s Note: This Fast Track Ahead Of Print article is the accepted version of the peer-reviewed manuscript. The final edited version will appear in an upcoming issue of Health Affairs.]

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