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      Nurse Staffing and Coronavirus Infections in California Nursing Homes

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          Abstract

          In the United States, 1.4 million nursing home residents have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with at least 25,923 resident and 449 staff deaths reported from the virus by June 1, 2020. The majority of residents have chronic illnesses and conditions and are vulnerable to infections and many share rooms and have congregate meals. There was evidence of inadequate registered nurse (RN) staffing levels and infection control procedures in many nursing homes prior to the outbreak of the virus. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship of nurse staffing in California nursing homes and compare homes with and without COVID-19 residents. Study data were from both the California and Los Angeles Departments of Public Health and as well as news organizations on nursing homes reporting COVID-19 infections between March and May 4, 2020. Results indicate that nursing homes with total RN staffing levels under the recommended minimum standard (0.75 hours per resident day) had a two times greater probability of having COVID-19 resident infections. Nursing homes with lower Medicare five-star ratings on total nurse and RN staffing levels (adjusted for acuity), higher total health deficiencies, and more beds had a higher probability of having COVID-19 residents. Nursing homes with low RN and total staffing levels appear to leave residents vulnerable to COVID-19 infections. Establishing minimum staffing standards at the federal and state levels could prevent this in the future.

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          Most cited references27

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          Quality of care in for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes: systematic review and meta-analysis

          Objective To compare quality of care in for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes. Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies and randomised controlled trials investigating quality of care in for-profit versus not-for-profit nursing homes. Results A comprehensive search yielded 8827 citations, of which 956 were judged appropriate for full text review. Study characteristics and results of 82 articles that met inclusion criteria were summarised, and results for the four most frequently reported quality measures were pooled. Included studies reported results dating from 1965 to 2003. In 40 studies, all statistically significant comparisons (P<0.05) favoured not-for-profit facilities; in three studies, all statistically significant comparisons favoured for-profit facilities, and the remaining studies had less consistent findings. Meta-analyses suggested that not-for-profit facilities delivered higher quality care than did for-profit facilities for two of the four most frequently reported quality measures: more or higher quality staffing (ratio of effect 1.11, 95% confidence interval 1.07 to 1.14, P<0.001) and lower pressure ulcer prevalence (odds ratio 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.83 to 0.98, P=0.02). Non-significant results favouring not-for-profit homes were found for the two other most frequently used measures: physical restraint use (odds ratio 0.93, 0.82 to 1.05, P=0.25) and fewer deficiencies in governmental regulatory assessments (ratio of effect 0.90, 0.78 to 1.04, P=0.17). Conclusions This systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence suggests that, on average, not-for-profit nursing homes deliver higher quality care than do for-profit nursing homes. Many factors may, however, influence this relation in the case of individual institutions.
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            Systematic review of studies of staffing and quality in nursing homes.

            To evaluate a range of staffing measures and data sources for long-term use in public reporting of staffing as a quality measure in nursing homes. Eighty-seven research articles and government documents published from 1975 to 2003 were reviewed and summarized. Relevant content was extracted and organized around 3 themes: staffing measures, quality measures, and risk adjustment variables. Data sources for staffing information were also identified. There is a proven association between higher total staffing levels (especially licensed staff) and improved quality of care. Studies also indicate a significant relationship between high turnover and poor resident outcomes. Functional ability, pressure ulcers, and weight loss are the most sensitive quality indicators linked to staffing. The best national data sources for staffing and quality include the Minimum Data Set (MDS) and On-line Survey and Certification Automated Records (OSCAR). However, the accuracy of this self-reported information requires further reliability and validity testing. A nationwide instrument needs to be developed to accurately measure staff turnover. Large-scale studies using payroll data to measure staff retention and its impact on resident outcomes are recommended. Future research should use the most nurse-sensitive quality indicators such as pressure ulcers, functional status, and weight loss.
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              Predictors of nursing home hospitalization: a review of the literature.

              Hospitalization of nursing home residents is costly and potentially exposes residents to iatrogenic disease and psychological harm. This article critically reviews the association between the decision to hospitalize and factors related to the residents' welfare and preferences, the providers' attitudes, and the financial implications of hospitalization. Regarding the resident's welfare, factors associated with hospitalization included sociodemographics, health characteristics, nurse staffing, the presence of ancillary services, and the use of hospices. Patient preferences (e.g., advance directives) and provider attitudes (e.g., overburdening of staff) were also associated with increased hospitalization. Finally, financial variables related to hospitalization included nursing home ownership status and state Medicaid policies, such as nursing home payment rates and bed-hold requirements. Most studies relied on potentially confounded research designs, which leave open the issue of selection bias. Nevertheless, the existing literature asserts that nursing home hospitalizations are frequent, often preventable, and related to facility practices and state Medicaid policies.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice
                Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice
                SAGE Publications
                1527-1544
                1552-7468
                August 2020
                July 07 2020
                August 2020
                : 21
                : 3
                : 174-186
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco
                Article
                10.1177/1527154420938707
                32635838
                0c5c90a1-5cdd-41e4-9511-93579679f397
                © 2020

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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