When planning meets reality: COVID-19 interpandemic survey of Michigan Nursing Homes

Am J Infect Control. 2021 Nov;49(11):1343-1349. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2021.03.016. Epub 2021 Mar 29.


Background: Nursing home (NH) populations have borne the brunt of morbidity and mortality of COVID-19. We surveyed Michigan NHs to evaluate preparedness, staffing, testing, and adaptations to these challenges.

Methods: Interpandemic survey responses were collected May 1-12, 2020. We used Pearson's Chi-squared test, Fisher's exact test, and logistic regression to evaluate relationships.

Results: Of 452 Michigan NHs contacted via e-mail, 145 (32.1%) opened the survey and of these, 143 (98.6%) responded. Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicated their response plan addressed most issues. NHs reported receiving rapidly changing guidance from many sources. Two-thirds reported shortages of personal protective equipment and other supplies. Half (50%) lacked sufficient testing resources with only 36% able to test residents and staff with suspected COVID-19. A majority (55%) experienced staffing shortages. Sixty-three percent experienced resignations, with front-line clinical staff more likely to resign, particularly in facilities caring for COVID-19 patients (P < .001). Facilities adapted quickly, creating COVID-19 units (78%) to care for patients on site. To reduce isolation, NHs facilitated communication via phone calls (98%), videoconferencing (96%), and window visits (81%). A majority continued to provide requisite therapies (90%).

Conclusions: NHs experienced shortages of resources, testing supplies, and staffing challenges. COVID-19 in the facility was a key predictor of staff resignations. Facilities relied on rapidly changing, often conflicting advice from multiple sources, suggesting high-yield areas of improvement.

Keywords: Infection prevention and control; Pandemic; Preparedness; Staffing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Michigan
  • Nursing Homes
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires