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Fatal underfunding? Explaining COVID-19 mortality in Spanish nursing homes

Costa-Font, Joan ORCID: 0000-0001-7174-7919, Jimenez-Marin, Sergi and Viola, Analía (2021) Fatal underfunding? Explaining COVID-19 mortality in Spanish nursing homes. Journal of Aging and Health, 33 (7-8). 607 - 617. ISSN 0898-2643

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Identification Number: 10.1177/08982643211003794


The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a disproportionate effect on older European populations living in nursing homes. This article discusses the 'fatal underfunding hypothesis', and reports an exploratory empirical analysis of the regional variation in nursing home fatalities during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain, one of the European countries with the highest number of nursing home fatalities. We draw on descriptive and multivariate regression analysis to examine the association between fatalities and measures of nursing home organisation, capacity and coordination plans alongside other characteristics. We document a correlation between regional nursing home fatalities (as a share of excess deaths) and a number of proxies for underfunding including nursing home size, occupancy rate and lower staff to a resident ratio (proxying understaffing). Our preliminary estimates reveal a 0.44 percentual point reduction in the share of nursing home fatalities for each additional staff per place in a nursing home consistent with a fatal underfunding hypothesis.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2021 10:03
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 17:51

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