Nursing homes used fewer COVID meds than expected during the pandemic.

Nursing homes used fewer COVID meds than expected during the pandemic.

Study Finds Low Use of Antiviral Treatments in Nursing Homes Amid COVID-19 Outbreaks

Nursing Home

COVID-19 has posed a significant threat to the vulnerable population of nursing home residents. However, a recent study led by Brian McGarry, a health services researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, reveals alarming data on the low use of antiviral treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, in nursing homes throughout 2021 and 2022[^1^].

Low Utilization of Antiviral Treatments

The study analyzed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Safety Network, spanning from May 2021 to December 2022[^1^]. Shockingly, only 18% of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes received antiviral medications, highlighting a significant gap in treatment[^1^]. Even after oral treatments became available and easier to administer, only 25% of nursing home residents benefited from these life-saving medications[^1^].

The researchers examined over 763,000 COVID-19 cases across more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States, all of whom met the clinical guidelines for antiviral treatment eligibility[^1^]. However, by the end of 2022, 40% of nursing homes reported that they had never used any antiviral treatments[^1^]. The study further identified disparities in antiviral utilization, with for-profit and lower-quality facilities, as well as those with higher proportions of Medicaid and non-white residents, being less likely to administer antiviral treatment[^1^].

Implications for Disparities and Health Outcomes

The inadequate utilization of antiviral treatments in nursing homes likely contributed to the disparities in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths among the residents[^1^]. This study highlights the need for improved access to and utilization of life-saving medications for vulnerable populations.

Closing Thoughts

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities, it is crucial to address the disparities in healthcare provision and ensure that all individuals have equal opportunities for effective treatments. This study emphasizes the critical importance of timely and appropriate medical intervention, especially among nursing home residents, who face heightened risks due to age and underlying health conditions[^1^]. By prioritizing and implementing comprehensive treatment strategies, we can help protect the most vulnerable members of our society and reduce the burden of COVID-19 on nursing home residents.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides additional information on antiviral treatments for COVID-19[^1^].

SOURCES: [^1^] University of Rochester Medical Center, news release, July 14, 2023