N.C. A&T Study Aims to Lower COVID-19 Cases, Deaths in Residential Care Facilities

By Jackie Torok / 12/18/2020 College of Health and Human Sciences,

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 18, 2020) – A study under way by researchers in North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s College of Health and Human Sciences aims to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in residential care facilities, including nursing homes.

Data have established that older adults in congregate living facilities have higher COVID-19 mortality rates than the general population. In addition, guidelines regarding visitation, screening staff for the novel coronavirus, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) vary widely from state to state.

The N.C. A&T study examines which pre-COVID-19 quality of care measures predict COVID-19 cases and deaths in congregate living facilities, as well as community-level factors that perpetuated or mitigated disparities in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths among older adults in these residences.

“Community-level risk factors are important because care providers reside in the community and are carriers bringing COVID-19 into congregate living facilities,” said Stephanie Teixeira-Poit, Ph.D., an assistant professor of sociology in the CHHS and principal investigator (PI) of the study.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that health care and nursing home workers be among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they become available.

Teixeira-Poit is leading the effort with co-PI Vannessa Gharbi, a student in the Joint Programs in Social Work of A&T and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Their team analyzed data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services COIVD-19 Ongoing Outbreaks in Congregate Living Settings Report, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Post-Acute Care and Hospice Provider Utilization and Payment Public Use Files, the U.S. Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality’s Area Health Resources File, and county-level COVID-19 records.

As part of the study, researchers conducted community-based participatory research and convened a stakeholder advisory board (SAB). “To ensure the SAB could address the needs of a wide range of diverse constituents, we aimed to assemble a cohort of leaders in the field representing diverse geographical locations, professional backgrounds, agency settings, income levels, and socio-demographic characteristics,” said Teixeira-Poit.

The SAB not only provided feedback on the approach and analysis interpretation, but also help develop actionable recommendations that can be implemented to reduce novel coronavirus cases and deaths in congregate living facilities.

“We will use this information to devise practical strategies that our local community partners, their constituents, policymakers and decision-makers can use to mitigate COVID-19 cases and deaths in these facilities,” said Teixeira-Poit. “Our hope is that these strategies can be adapted and implemented in residential care facilities across North Carolina and in other states to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 among these vulnerable adult populations.”

The target completion date for the Predictors and Strategies to Mitigate COVID-19 Cases and Death Among Older Adults in Nursing Homes and Residential Care Facilities study, which received $75,428 in funding from the N.C. Policy Collaboratory, is Dec. 30.


Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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