Time to Ensure Sufficient Nursing Home Staffing and Eliminate Inequities in Care


Charlene Harrington, Susan Chapman, Elizabeth Halifax, Mary Ellen Dellefield, and Anne Montgomery

May 26, 2021

The overwhelming nursing home resident infection and death rates from the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the question: What policies can best protect nursing home residents now and in the future? In this article we present data that inadequate nurse staffing levels and high staff turnover rates are the fundamental underlying causes of poor quality care in many nursing homes. Understaffing and turnover, especially at for-profit companies and homes with Private Equity (PE) investors, have resulted in unnecessary infections and deaths before and during the pandemic. The poor care has resulted in wide inequities for racial and ethnic minorities and residents on Medicaid as well as disparities for racial and ethnic minority staff. Solutions to these chronic challenges and poor performance are offered in this commentary.