(HealthDay News) — At skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), staff size, including staff members not involved in resident care, is strongly associated with COVID-19 outcomes, according to a study published online July 14 in Health Affairs.
Brian E. McGarry, Ph.D., from the University of Rochester in New York, and colleagues examined the correlation of a novel measure of staff size (number of unique employees working daily) and conventional measures of staffing quality with COVID-19 outcomes among SNFs in the United States that did not have confirmed COVID-19 cases by June 2020.
Sample SNFs in the lowest quartile of staff size had 6.2 resident cases and 0.9 deaths per 100 beds, while those in the highest quartile had 11.9 resident cases and 2.1 deaths per 100 beds. The researchers found that even after accounting for facility size, there was a strong correlation for staff size, including staff members not involved in resident care, with an SNF’s COVID-19 outcomes. Conventional measures of staffing quality, including direct care staff-to-resident ratios and skill mix, did not significantly predict COVID-19 cases or deaths.
“Moving forward, policy makers should encourage policies that promote the use of fulltime and more consistent staff while maintaining sufficient direct caregivers to provide safe and effective care for residents,” the authors write.
One author disclosed financial ties to the health care and caregiver industries.