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Study: High staff turnover at U.S. nursing homes poses risks for resident care

Extraordinarily high turnover among staffs at nursing homes likely contributed to the high number of deaths at the facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors of a new study suggested (Source: “High Staff Turnover at U.S. Nursing Homes Poses Risks for Residents’ Care,” New York Times, March 1).

The study, which was published Monday in Health Affairs, represents a comprehensive look at the turnover rates in 15,645 nursing homes across the country, accounting for nearly all of the facilities certified by the federal government. The researchers found the average annual rate was 128 percent, with some facilities experiencing turnover that exceeded 300 percent.

Inadequate staffing — and low pay — has long plagued nursing homes and quality-of-care for the more than one million residents who live in these facilities. But the pandemic has exposed these issues even more sharply, with investigations underway into some states’ oversight of the facilities as COVID cases spiraled unchecked and deaths skyrocketed.