Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Elevate Eldercare

Oct 1, 2021

University of Chicago researcher R. Tamara Konetzka was behind some of the earliest research into COVID-19 and nursing homes, which often generated provocative and unexpected results: While media coverage focused on individual outbreaks and historic lapses in infection control, Konetzka’s work suggested that past quality didn’t have much of an impact on a nursing home’s pandemic risk when compared to bed counts, overall community spread, and the racial demographics of residents.

More than 18 months into the pandemic, Konetzka joins Susan Ryan and “Elevate Eldercare” to discuss how policymakers should apply those lessons learned, with a particular focus on ensuring that future emergency response plans recognize long-term care’s vital role in the overall health care delivery system – something that was missing during the early focus on hospitals as epicenters of pandemic-related support.

Konetzka also critiques the government’s longer-term responses to COVID in nursing homes in 2020 and 2021, including focused infection control surveys and performance-based bonuses for facilities that kept case counts low during certain periods. While those solutions might head off isolated issues, Konetzka argues that real reform must focus on much larger systems – as well as harder-to-measure metrics such as quality of life and patient-centered care plans.

Konetzka is the Louis Block Professor of Public Health Sciences at UChicago, where she also holds a secondary position in the Department of Medicine, Section of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine.


Check out a summary of Konetzka’s research on Google Scholar:

Read coverage of Konetzka’s May 2020 testimony before Congress:


Show notes/call to action: Learn more about The Green House Project: