Protect Nursing Homes: Know the Connections

By understanding shared staff at nursing homes, we can better manage risk and reduce the spread of infections

Public health officials, policymakers, and nursing home decision-makers can use this data to:

Activate an early warning system to let connected nursing homes know when there is an outbreak in a home with shared staff

Identify hyper-connected homes where levels of connectivity risk may justify elevated monitoring and protective measures

Prepare for future outbreaks by developing informed staffing plans and guidelines for workers visiting multiples sites

Nursing Homes Have Been Hit Especially Hard by COVID-19 and Other Infections

0.6% of Americans live in nursing homes, but nursing home residents comprise nearly 40% of COVID-19 fatalities. New research from Yale and UCLA indicates having staff who work at more than one facility is a major factor for transmission. Nursing homes have traditionally shared staff across sites including medical directors, occupational therapists, food services, and certified nursing assistants. And in 2020, staff working in nursing homes suddenly had one of the deadliest jobs in the country. This data set aims to help public health officials and nursing home officials better understand the connections that exist between nursing homes to improve resident and staff safety.

Using Anonymous Cell Phone Data, Researchers Mapped Staff Connections

Between April and June 2020, much of the U.S. was on lockdown as coronavirus emerged--spreading quickly in nursing home facilities. To assess the spread of COVID-19, Yale and UCLA researchers accessed a representative sample of anonymous cell phone data (approximately 30% of all US cell phones). They then identified phones that were frequently at one or more nursing home facilities. Using this data, researchers created a map of interconnected nursing homes. As this was a unique time when non-employee visitation was restricted, the assumption is that most of these connections are shared staff.

Learn more about the research

Protect Nursing Homes is a project of the Tobin Center for Economic Policy at Yale, in partnership with U.S. Digital Response.

Tobin CenterUS Digital Response

It is powered by faculty at Yale and UCLA. Advisors include nursing home leaders, epidemiologists, state public health officials, and nursing home advocates. Learn more about the team.

View the connectivity data for your region or nursing home

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