Growing evidence proves that nursing facilities with staffing issues are likelier to experience COVID-19 outbreaks. Nursing homes with higher total numbers of nurse staffing hours had a lower probability of outbreaks, along with fewer total coronavirus deaths.
Since the late-February outbreak, roughly 40% of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been related to nursing homes. Nursing home coronavirus death estimates vary widely, from about 60,000 to 80,000 or more, and rising. A safer staffing model with a living wage would have prevented thousands of deaths according to a new study. The staffing analysis discovered that resident deaths were preventable if operators adjusted to a staffing model with living wages and benefits. Safe staffing saves lives.
The scientists tracked smartphone usage among all of the nation’s nursing homes after restricting visitors in mid-March. Investigators were “blown away” by the results, according to an expert familiar with the study. “It’s much worse than we thought. It’s insane,” a person close to the investigation said.
They found that a statistically significant 7% of the 500,000-plus phones tracked pinged as cross-traffic among facilities. Shutting down all of these cross-connections could have led to a 44% decline in nursing home cases. Evidence shows that paying employees a living wage to work would limit “cross-traffic across homes.” Eliminating cross traffic delivers a “magnitude” of safety benefits. It would lessen burnout, abuse, and turnover.
The study’s findings has implications for “cross-linkages” among other communal settings. These include assisted living facilities, prisons and “large workplace facilities such as food-processing plants.” Safe staffing saves lives.