Study Reveals What Could Reduce COVID-19 Spread in Nursing Homes

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on June 22, 2020 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on April 25, 2024

nurse with nursing home residentMost people are aware by now that the novel coronavirus disproportionately affects the elderly, especially those with underlying medical conditions. To learn more about the impact of this virus within a nursing home environment, a research team at the University of Rochester Medical Center conducted a study to help determine not only how the disease is transmitted, but how care levels could impact the ability to contain the virus in these long-term care facilities.

The study analyzed what impacted a facility’s ability to contain COVID-19 and what affected the overall outcomes for residents who became infected with the virus.

PKSD explains more about the study, including what parameters were used and what the results revealed.

If your loved one was exposed to COVID-19 due to the gross negligence of a nursing home, we encourage you to contact our firm as soon as possible. We are prepared to review the circumstances of your potential claim and determine whether you may have legal options. We are available to take your call 24/7, and we charge nothing for your initial consultation. If we represent you, we only collect our fees if we achieve a recovery on your behalf.

Methodology: How the Study Was Conducted

The research team first pulled data from all 215 Connecticut nursing homes, along with additional information on these facilities from other nursing home data sources that included, but was not limited to:

  • Connecticut Department of Health and Human Services – Data updated weekly throughout the study
  • Nursing Home Compare (NHC) – Last update March 31, 2020
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)
  • CMS Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) – Quarterly, audited data submitted by nursing home facilities

The study analyzed how specific variables impacted the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases, the outcomes of residents who became infected with the coronavirus and the number of residents who died as a result of the virus in each county across the state.

The variables collected and analyzed for each nursing home in the study included:

  • The number of licensed beds
  • Average daily resident census
  • Facility ownership status (whether the facility was a for-profit, or non-profit organization)
  • Chain affiliation (if applicable)
  • Average daily RN staffing level
  • Average total staffing level (included a mix of RNs, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nurses’ assistants (CNAs)
  • Percentage of Medicare Residents
  • Percentage of Medicaid Residents

What Do The Star Ratings Indicate on NHC?


The star ratings are provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and are based on a 1-5 scale rating of nursing home quality measures. Higher ratings indicate a better quality of care. While you can review more about the rating system on the CMS website, the three primary sources of information targeted include:

  • Health Inspections – Determines whether a nursing home is complying with Medicaid and Medicare’s minimum quality requirements.
  • Staffing – Includes the average number of hours of care a resident receives from nursing staff each day
  • Quality Measures – An inspection of 15 clinical and physical nursing home resident care measures

Results of Connecticut Study

The outcomes revealed that nursing homes with higher RN staffing levels were significantly more effective at containing the spread of COVID-19 exposure, which also resulted in fewer confirmed cases and deaths.

In contrast, nursing homes with a larger percentage of racial, minority or Medicaid residents that also had lower RN staffing ratios and lower star ratings on Nursing Home Compare (NHC), also had more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths.

As a whole, the study revealed there were, on average, 1.7 deaths per nursing home facility and 8 confirmed cases.

Other statistics showed:

  • Facilities with the higher numbers of Medicaid residents had 16 percent more confirmed cases
  • Facilities with more ethnic/racial nursing home residents had 15 percent more confirmed cases of the virus.
  • Facilities with increased RN staffing levels were linked with 22 percent less confirmed cases
  • There were 107 facilities with zero confirmed cases as of the date of this study
  • There were 131 facilities with zero deaths

The research team concluded from this study that nursing homes could potentially better contain the spread of COVID-19 and effectively reduce the number of deaths from the virus by increasing RN staffing and improving the overall quality of care.

Contact One of Our Attorneys for Legal Help Today

If your loved one contracted COVID-19 due to substandard care, we are prepared to help. At PKSD, we are committed to pursuing justice for elderly nursing home residents who have suffered due to negligence or abuse.

Our firm can take your call anytime, day or night. Speak to one of our representatives today to arrange for a free initial consultation with one of our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers.

PKSD Law. Legal help when you need it. 414-333-3333

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