Free DP Download 03 July 2020 - LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES AS A RISK FACTOR FOR DEATH DUE TO COVID-19

Friday, July 3, 2020

LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES AS A RISK FACTOR FOR DEATH DUE TO COVID-19
Neil Gandal, Matan Yonas, Michal Feldman, Ady Pauzner, Avraham Tabbach         
CEPR DP No. 14844 | June 2020

A large percentage of the deaths from Covid-19 occur among residents of long-term care facilities. There are two possible reasons for this phenomenon. First, the structural features of such settings may lead to death. Alternatively, it is possible that individuals in these facilities are in poorer health than those living elsewhere, and that these individuals would have died even if they had not been in these facilities. 

A new CEPR study by Neil Gandal and colleagues shows that controlling for the population density and the percentage of older adults in the population, there is a significant positive association between the number of long-term care beds per capita and Covid-19 mortality rates. This finding provides support for the claim that long-term care living arrangements (of older people) are a significant risk factor for dying from Covid-19. 

Controlling for the proportion of adults “aged 75 and older,” the population density, and hospital beds per capita, the number of long-term care beds per capita is positive and statistically significant in explaining the differences in the total COVID-19 deaths per capita for European countries and for US States. This suggests that the structural features of such settings are associated with death from COVID-19. In European countries and U.S. States with more long-term care beds per capita, the death rate from COVID-19 is higher.

These findings raise policy implications. In particular, efforts should be geared to protecting older adults living in long-term care settings. Policy makers might even consider alternative dwelling options during the epidemic period, such as encouraging residents to live with their families whenever possible. It appears that additional regional and county data concerning long-term care facilities may be available in the next few months, allowing us to continue and improve our analysis.

 


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