Nursing homes—compared to other health care facilities—have been carrying the heaviest burden of COVID-19 cases and deaths in California and across the nation. Nursing homes provide skilled nursing services to people who either require short term care, e.g. recovery after surgery, or those who need long-term care that includes clinical care and residential services. Although nursing home residents are less than one-half of 1% of the state’s population, about 28% of all COVID-19 related deaths in California occur in those facilities.
Challenges in providing high-quality care in California’s nursing homes predates the current pandemic, which has magnified longstanding operational challenges and exposed systemic vulnerabilities in skilled nursing.
To understand and support meaningful quality improvement in the state’s nursing homes, Cal Hospital Compare (CHC), in partnership with IBM Watson Health and the University of California, San Francisco (collectively known as the CHC Project Team), analyzed numerous potential factors that may have put California nursing home residents at increased risk of infection and mortality from COVID-19. The work was commissioned by the California Health Care Foundation.