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All hands on deck”: administrator perspectives on managing COVID-19 outbreaks in U.S. nursing homes

Brazier, Joan F., Meehan, Amy, Shield, Renee R., White, Elizabeth M., Grabowski, David C., Geng, Fangli and Gadbois, Emily A. (2023) All hands on deck”: administrator perspectives on managing COVID-19 outbreaks in U.S. nursing homes. Journal of Long-term Care, 2023. 297 - 310. ISSN 2516-9122

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Identification Number: 10.31389/jltc.237


Context: Managing COVID-19 outbreaks at U.S. nursing homes highlight the structural weaknesses of pre-pandemic long-term care emergency preparedness protocols. Objective: To understand how nursing home administrators managed staffing and facility operations during an active COVID-19 outbreak. Methods: This descriptive qualitative study conducted semi-structured interviews with administrators at 40 U.S. nursing homes from July 2020–December 2021. Interview questions focused on the impact of COVID-19 on nursing home operations and staffing, among other topics. Interview transcripts were qualitatively analysed to identify overarching themes using modified grounded theory and thematic analysis. Findings: Four major themes emerged from analysis. (1) Administrators described the rapidity of viral infection of staff and residents as overwhelming and long-lasting; (2) a COVID-19 outbreak had an immediate impact on staffing levels; (3) administrators implemented short-term compensatory strategies to manage staffing shortages during COVID-19 outbreaks; and (4) administrator and staff roles and responsibilities expanded in order to maintain facility operations during, and post-COVID-19 outbreak. Limitations: Findings may not be generalizable to all U.S. nursing homes and may not reflect current COVID-19 mitigation protocols and perspectives as interviews concluded in December 2021. Implications: U.S. nursing home administrators used crisis-management strategies to sustain facility operations during active COVID-19 outbreaks. This approach highlights on-going weaknesses in the long-term care infrastructure at U.S. nursing homes. Learning from administrator experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for the development of robust emergency preparedness plans and the improvement of state and federal resource coordination efforts to support U.S. nursing homes during future public health emergencies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
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: 01 Dec 2023 13:33
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 01:57

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