Nurse staffing shortages linked to 10 percent jump in resident deaths

May 9, 2023 | Nursing Turnover & Hours, Research & Studies of PBJ Data

Nurse staffing shortages linked to 10 percent jump in resident deaths

Self-reported nurse staffing shortages in United States nursing homes during the height of the pandemic were linked to less care per resident and a 10.5% increase in resident deaths, a new study has found.

For the period between May 31, 2020, and May 15, 2022, [author Sushant Joshi, PhD, of the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy] used payroll data to measure staffing hours per resident, and measured weekly resident deaths and staffing shortages using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network.

Among the more than 15,000 nursing homes represented, between 18% and 33% reported staffing shortages during any given week. These shortages were directly related to lower staffing hours per resident, including a 1.8% decline in registered nurse hours, a 1.7% decrease in licensed practical nurse hours and a 2.4% decline in certified nursing assistant hours.

These labor shortfalls appeared to have a significant impact on resident outcomes as well, Joshi found. Staffing shortages during any week were positively associated with a 10.5% increase in total resident deaths, or 0.068 total deaths per 100 residents. They were also associated with increases in resident deaths from COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 causes individually.




May 9, 2023


Lasek, Alicia. “Nurse Staffing Shortages Linked to 10 Percent Jump in Resident Deaths.” McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, 12 May 2023,