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Residents living in smaller nursing homes are less likely to contract or die from COVID-19 than those who live in larger facilities, according to  study results published in JAMDA on Monday.

The analysis found that non-traditional nursing homes and facilities with fewer than 50 beds had lower rates of coronavirus cases and deaths when compared to facilities with more than 50 beds. Smaller facilities reported a median rate of 0 cases per 1,000 residents, while larger nursing homes reported a rate of 0.06 cases per 1,000 residents. 

Additionally, Green House modeled facilities had a median mortality rate of 0 deaths per 100 positive residents, and facilities with less than 50 residents had a median mortality rate of 10. In nursing homes with more than 50 beds, the median mortality rate was 12.5 in nursing homes with more than 50 beds. 

Investigators, which included researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Green House project, suggested the smaller nursing home models could be a promising solution for providers post-COVID. 

“Stakeholders agree we must capitalize on the opportunity offered by COVID-19 to transform our system of long-term care, but the path to necessary changes — financing, accountability, workforce, regulation — suggest an arduous and contentious road,” researchers argued. 

“Green house/small NHs, which already are widely in favor, may constitute a promising future. Their model already exists, and in addition to being advantageous in relation to COVID-19, they benefit resident quality of life, improve satisfaction, reduce hospital readmissions and Medicare spending, and result in better quality indicators,” they concluded.