A recent study of nursing home risk factors conducted by the American College of Preventive Medicine shows that washing hands with soap and water is far more effective in preventing norovirus – a virus common in nursing homes characterized by vomiting and diarrhea – than using alcohol based solutions found in dispensers throughout most nursing homes and hospitals. 

However, what was also interesting in this study was the identification of another risk factor – low and part-time staffing.  The study found that other risk factors with high risk ratios were the use of part-time staff when the proportion of staff-to-patients was less than 1:2, and when the total staff-to-patient ratio was less than the industry median.

You can find how nursing homes are rated in regards to staffing on the Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. Nursing Home Compare rates staffing, like other measures, on a one to five star scale.