HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Decline in Veterans' Admissions to Nursing Homes during COVID-19: Fewer Beds, More Fear, and Finding Alternative Care Settings.
Cornell PY, Magid KH, Corneau E, Haverhals LM, Levy C. Decline in Veterans' Admissions to Nursing Homes during COVID-19: Fewer Beds, More Fear, and Finding Alternative Care Settings. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2023 Apr 1; 24(4):447-450.
Examine the decline in admission to community nursing homes among Veterans that occurred following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Multimethods study using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) purchasing records to examine trends in total admissions and semistructured interviews with staff connected to the VA community nursing home program to contextualize observed trends.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:
All VA-paid admissions to community nursing homes (N = 56,720 admissions) and national data on nursing home admissions from LTCFocUS. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 9 VA staff from 4 VA medical centers working in the VA community nursing home program, including social workers, nurses, and program coordinators.
Between April and December 2020, community nursing home admissions among Veterans were 35% lower compared with the same period in 2019. Nationally, total nursing home admissions decreased by 19.6%. VA community nursing home program staff described 3 themes that contributed to this decline: (1) fewer nursing home beds available, (2) lower admissions due to fear of Veterans being exposed to COVID-19 in nursing homes, and (3) leaving nursing homes in favor of living at home with home-based care.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:
The decline in nursing home admissions among Veterans raises questions about how replacing nursing home care in favor of home- and community-based care affects the health outcomes and well-being of Veterans and their caregivers.