Sarah Berry is a clinical researcher with Hebrew SeniorLife.

Q: Your JAMA Health Forum study compared delivery of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy to nursing home residents before and after the pandemic started. What did you learn?

A:Our goal was to characterize changes in rehabilitation services provided by SNFs during COVID-19. Rehabilitation services overall decreased, but only by about a half day on average.

Q: What does that tell us about nursing homes’ resourcefulness?

A:So much has been made about the shortcomings of nursing homes during the pandemic, and while there are a lot of opportunities for [facilities] to improve, this shows they are getting some things right. We were surprised to see that despite the challenges and regulations, it was possible to do the group sessions and there wasn’t a drop-off in the intensity. It speaks to the strength and resilience of staff during that time.

Q:Were you surprised to see an average fall-off of only about 10%, given COVID-related restrictions?

A:We went into this concerned that nursing home residents might not have been getting as much therapy and rehabilitation due to pandemic challenges. I would hope [this research] gives people confidence that for patients who still need nursing-home level care, it’s still an OK option.