Skilled Nursing Facilities Continued to Provide High Quality Care for Those Hospitalized During the Pandemic

New research suggests skilled nursing facilities were able to adapt and provide post-acute care rehabilitation to older adults during the pandemic.

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Boston — Older adults who entered skilled nursing facilities (SNF) for care after hospitalizations after the pandemic received rehabilitation care comparable to the levels of care that were provided pre-pandemic, according to research published in the JAMA Health Forum.

Despite exceptional challenges during the pandemic, SNFs provided post-acute rehabilitation with only a modest decline in intensity, said the researchers. This suggests that SNFs were largely able to adapt and provide post-acute care rehabilitation to older adults. 

“During the pandemic we knew that fewer people went to skilled nursing facilities after hospitalizations, and it seemed like the ones that went were overall sicker, with more cognitive impairment and higher risk overall,” said Sandra M. Shi, M.D., M.P.H.  “This study helps to demonstrate that despite caring for a sicker population with scarce resources, SNFs were still largely able to provide post-acute rehabilitation for patients.”

“Our goal was to characterize changes in rehabilitation services provided by SNFs during COVID-19”, said Sarah Berry, M.D., M.P.H.  “Rehabilitation services overall decreased, but only by about a half day on average.”

The article, Post-Acute Care Rehabilitation Services and Outcomes in Skilled Nursing Facilities Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic, was published in the JAMA Health Forum and was authored by Sandra M. Shi, M.D., M.P.H., Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife; Cyrus M. Kosar, Ph.D., Brown School of Public Health; Natalia Gouskovia, Ph.D., Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife; and Sarah Berry, M.D., M.P.H., Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife.

About the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research  
Scientists at the Marcus Institute seek to transform the human experience of aging by conducting research that will ensure a life of health, dignity, and productivity into advanced age. The Marcus Institute carries out rigorous studies that discover the mechanisms of age-related disease and disability; lead to the prevention, treatment, and cure of disease; advance the standard of care for older people; and inform public decision-making. 

About Hebrew SeniorLife   
Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching, and redefining the possibilities of aging. Hebrew SeniorLife cares for more than 3,000 seniors a day across six campuses throughout Greater Boston. Locations include: Hebrew Rehabilitation Center-Boston and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center-NewBridge in Dedham; NewBridge on the Charles, Dedham; Orchard Cove, Canton; Simon C. Fireman Community, Randolph; Center Communities of Brookline, Brookline; and Jack Satter House, Revere. Founded in 1903, Hebrew SeniorLife also conducts influential research into aging at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, which has a portfolio of more than $63 million, making it the largest gerontological research facility in the U.S. in a clinical setting. It also trains more than 1,000 geriatric care providers each year. For more information about Hebrew SeniorLife, visit our website or follow us on our blogFacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Research Areas

A scene of a hospital floor at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston, MA, with a nurse standing and working on a computer in the background and a blood pressure monitor in the foreground.

Health Care Services and Policy

The Marcus Institute seeks to effect change in policies that impact the care of older adults by identifying age-related conditions that have an outsized impact on health care utilization and costs, while developing interventions that mitigate the issues.

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