What were the characteristics of nursing homes in the U.S. that reported cases of COVID-19?

Elderly, Corridor, Doctor

Bottom Line:

While nursing homes that reported COVID-19 cases had similar overall ratings to those that did not, nursing homes that reported COVID-19 did have a higher average of reported incidents and complaints.


Chatterjee, P. et al. Characteristics and quality of US nursing homes reporting cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Network Open (2020). https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.16930

Date Published:

29 July 2020


COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes have had dire consequences across many countries and have contributed to the spread of COVID-19, both among healthcare workers and older adults. In order to understand how and why these outbreaks may occur, this study looked at the characteristics of nursing homes in 23 states in the U.S. that reported COVID-19 cases, as well as those that did not, over the course of a one-week period in April 2020. Of the nearly 9,000 nursing homes included in the study, 3,021 reported cases of COVID-19. In comparing the two groups, the authors found similar overall scores (based on a 5-star rating system) for both homes that reported and did not report cases of COVID-19. However, there were differences in certain qualities and characteristics. Homes reporting COVID-19 had a higher overall average number of deficiencies (failures to meet requirements, including for emergency preparedness, reported incidents, and substantiated complaints). As well, there was a higher number of for-profit nursing homes that reported COVID-19 than those that did not. These results suggest there may be important characteristics which influence the transmission and spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. Understanding these characteristics is essential to develop effective policy for COVID-19 response in nursing and long-term care homes.

Summary by: Jennifer Gutberg