Nursing homesWhat the Pandemic Teaches Us about Nursing Home Care

Published 21 April 2020

Nested in communities across the US, nursing homes serve as a societal safety net. Nursing homes provide essential care to individuals unable to live in the community. Roughly 1.3 million residents live in nursing homes receiving assistance with daily activities of living such as meals, dressing, and socialization. Additionally, more than 3 million older adults are discharged annually to nursing homes following a hospital stay to receive rehabilitative services like physical therapy and skilled nursing care. The University of Pennsylvania says that more than 2,000 nursing homes in the US have reported Covid-19 cases within their facilities, often accompanied by heart-wrenching rates of death. Combatting the avalanche of death posed by the novel coronavirus in nursing homes requires concerted effort to align several conflicting priorities that have afflicted nursing homes for years. Covid-19 puts into full view the regulatory structures and payment models that jeopardize care for long term care residents and those receiving post-acute care.