COVID-19 Challenges – Administrator View

Angie Szumlinski Studies

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have borne enormous burdens from COVID-19, accounting for 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States. SNFs have faced tremendous operational, clinical, and financial hurdles during the pandemic as well. Despite broad recognition of such problems, there is little systematic evidence about the experience of SNFs from the perspective of SNF leadership. In a study conducted between July 22 and September 11, 2020, a nationally representative survey of 223 SNF administrators were asked to complete a questionnaire by telephone and online.

The questionnaire included open-ended questions to elicit administrator views of their greatest challenges in the past 30 days and predicted challenges in the event of future COVID-19 waves. It also asked closed-ended questions about issues previously identified as important for resilience: staffing, supplies, and screening.

The top recent challenge, identified by 52% of administrators, was staffing. More than 40% noted challenges with COVID-19 protocol implementation (46%), including keeping up with changing requirements, and procuring supplies like personal protective equipment (PPE) (41%). Results show that even months into the pandemic, many administrators felt SNFs faced problems across multiple domains and these would likely continue.

Stay the course, stay well, mask up, get vaccinated, and stay tuned!