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Quantify the frequency and drivers of unreported coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms among nursing home (NH) staff.
Confidential telephone survey.
The study was conducted in 70 NHs in Orange County, California, December 2020–February 2022.
The study included 120 NH staff with COVID-19.
We designed a 40-item telephone survey of NH staff to assess COVID-19 symptom reporting behavior and types of barriers [monetary, logistic, and emotional (fear or stigma)] and facilitators of symptom reporting using 5-point Likert scales. Summary statistics, reliability of survey constructs, and construct and discriminant validity were assessed.
Overall, 49% of surveys were completed during the 2020–2021 COVID-19 winter wave and 51% were completed during severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) δ (delta)/ (omicron) waves, with a relatively even distribution of certified nursing assistants, licensed vocational or registered nurses, and nonfrontline staff. Most COVID-19 cases (71%) were detected during mandated weekly NH surveillance testing and most staff (67%) had ≥1 symptom prior to their test. Only 34% of those with symptoms disclosed their symptom to a supervisor. Responses were consistent across 8 discrete survey constructs with Cronbach α > 0.70. In the first wave of the pandemic, fear and lack of knowledge were drivers of symptom reporting. In later waves, adequate staffing and sick days were drivers of symptom reporting. COVID-19 help lines and encouragement from supervisors facilitated symptom reporting and testing.
Mandatory COVID-19 testing for NH staff is key to identifying staff COVID-19 cases due to reluctance to speak up about existing symptoms. Active encouragement from supervisors to report symptoms and stay home when ill was a major driver of symptom reporting and resultant infection prevention and worker safety measures.
Persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) are prone to receiving reduced quality of care. We compared the quality of room cleaning of rooms with ADRD residents and rooms with non-ADRD residents in nursing homes using an ultraviolet (UV) marker. ADRD status was associated with greater failure of UV marker removal (odds ratio, 1.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.04–2.71; P = .03).
We performed systematic review on 40 paired hospital and nursing home charts from a clinical trial to evaluate the fidelity of transitions of care among those discharged on antibiotics. We found that 30% of transitions included an inappropriate change to the patient’s antibiotic plan of care.
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