Does ownership matter in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the residential and nursing home sector?

 Florien Kruse, Radboud Medical Centre, IQ healthcare

Call for collaboration

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the residential and nursing home sector hard in both the first and second waves in numerous countries. Factors outside the control of individual home operators – such as limited access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and the availability of testing kits from local public health authorities – played a large part in the spread of COVID-19. However, even among homes in similar localities, some managed the situation better than others. How can this be and what are relevant organisational factors? Ownership structure may be one of the factors that matter.

Various nursing home systems rely on both public and private sector providers  (e.g. England and Canada). However, the private sector is diverse and complex, and their role is context-dependent. Private sector providers range from donative non-profit providers (e.g. church-financed providers) to for-profit private equity-owned providers. Empirical evidence suggests that for-profit providers perform better in terms of efficiency, but worse in terms of quality of care compared to the non-profit (or public) sector. Does ownership also matter in how well they have been able to respond to the crisis, as measured by mortality and morbidity?

This question is relevant for policymakers who need to make informed decisions about different ownership types within their nursing home sector and the risks and opportunities they present.

Our study will use case studies to improve our understanding of the role of ownership in the response of nursing homes to the COVID-19 pandemic in various national contexts. Currently, we have contributors from England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and Malta. We are looking for country correspondents from further countries, especially from those in which the public sector dominates and there are relatively few private nursing homes. We are also keen to collaborate with contributors from countries outside Europe and North America.  

If you would like to collaborate in this project, please email Florien Kruse at:

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