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New Grant to Study Nursing Homes' Visitation Bans During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Effectiveness and Consequences led by Pepper Center Scholar

Jun 14, 2023, 12:55 PM by SCOA

UTMB Researchers have received funding for a new study, Nursing homes' visitation bans during the COVID-19 pandemic: Effectiveness and consequences,” from the National Institute on Aging, a component of the National Institutes of Health. The 4-year study will be conducted with a team at UTMB including study PI, Dr. Huiwen Xu, Dr. James Goodwin, who also serves as Dr. Xu’s Pepper Scholar mentor, Dr. Yong-fang Kuo, and Dr. Shuang Li. Outside collaborators include Dr. John R. Bowblis and Dr. Jennifer Heston-Mullins from Miami University of Ohio. 


Visitation bans in nursing homes were a major policy intervention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet there is limited knowledge regarding their effectiveness in COVID-19 prevention or the unintended adverse effects on residents and care practices in nursing homes. By linking data on visitation bans with national Medicare claims and assessment data, we will conduct a convergent parallel mixed methods study to examine the effectiveness and adverse consequences of visitation bans in nursing homes, with a special focus on residents with Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias. The research findings will help policymakers better understand the full impact of this controversial mitigation measure. This is especially policy-relevant currently, because many states have passed or are considering passing laws to ensure visitation rights among nursing home residents, even during a pandemic.

Huiwen Xu, PhD is a Tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Population Health and a UTMB Pepper Center Scholar. Dr. Xu’s research focuses on aging, long-term care, cancer survivorship, and machine learning. His previous work has examined the hospitalization and emergency department visits of nursing home residents using national Medicare claims and Minimum Data Set data. 

Research reported in this release will be supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 1R01AG081282-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.