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When the Covid-19 pandemic began tearing across the country, it hit nursing homes hard. More than 200,000 residents and staff members at long-term care facilities have died from the disease. To be sure, as this week’s “First Opinion Podcast” guests point out, the care of nursing home residents and support for those providing that care have been long-standing issues. But the pandemic directed a harsh light on them.

This week, Jasmine Travers and David Grabowski discuss the current state of affairs in nursing homes across the country, the important progress that needs to be made, and key steps for making improvements. They were part of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee charged with making “bold, actionable recommendations to improve nursing home care.”

“A person doesn’t want to stop living just because they need help living,” Travers said. She and Grabowski both stressed the need to put “home” back into nursing homes.

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This conversation emerged from the First Opinion essay, “U.S. nursing home care is ineffective, inefficient, inequitable, fragmented, and unsustainable.” Travers is an assistant professor at New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Grabowski is a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. They wrote the essay with Marilyn Rantz, a professor in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing and the Department of Family Medicine in the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

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