BACKGROUND: It is crucial that nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff to protect residents and staff from COVID-19. Some states have taken actions to mitigate shortages of PPE and staffing in nursing homes, including creating dedicated long-term care (LTC) teams and supporting staffing capacity.
OBJECTIVE: To examine whether state actions and nursing home characteristics are associated with shortages of PPE and staffing.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Facility-level data, released July 31, 2020, from the Nursing Home COVID-19 Public File, were combined with data from other sources. Our sample was the 13,445 facilities with information about PPE and staffing shortages for each of the 5 weeks between the week ending June 21, 2020, and the week ending July 19, 2020. Associations between facility characteristics and shortages were examined using descriptive statistics and logistic regression models.
MEASUREMENTS: Outcome variables were whether or not a facility lacked a 1-week supply of PPE (“PPE shortage”) and whether or not a facility had a staffing shortage during 1 or more weeks over the 5-week study period.
RESULTS: Over the 5-week study period, 27.6% of facilities reported 1 or more weeks of PPE shortage, 30.2% of facilities reported at least 1 week of staffing shortage, and 46.5% of facilities lacked PPE and/or staff. Facilities located in states in the Northeast PPE Consortium or with LTC teams were modestly less likely to have had a PPE shortage, and facilities located in states that implemented processes to match job seekers with LTC facilities were marginally significantly less likely to have had a staffing shortage.
CONCLUSION: Given that nearly half of U.S. nursing homes recently faced a shortage of PPE and/or staff, and that state budget deficits may limit further state actions, ongoing federal assistance with PPE and staffing of nursing homes is needed.