Analysis found that mortality increases more in states with larger shares of their populations in nursing homes, particularly among women. One possible explanation is that the quality of care declines in a strong economy when demand for workers grows throughout the economy.
Past research indicates that the ability of healthcare providers to hire staff is influenced by the state of the economy: employment levels in healthcare decline during economic expansions as low-paid, low-skill workers find better jobs elsewhere. “This migration worsens perennial shortages of direct caregivers, such as nursing aides and home health workers,” state the report authors.
“This finding suggests that such shortages may be an important focus of future efforts to improve the quality of health care,” conclude the authors.