Prof. Jasmine Travers awarded NIH grant to study PPP loans, nursing home staffing, and resident outcomes

August 17, 2023


Jasmine Travers Headshot

Jasmine Travers, PhD, RN, assistant professor at NYU Meyers, has received a grant from the National Institute on Aging to study the effect of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on nursing home staffing patterns and outcomes of residents with dementia. The five-year, $3.7 million grant (R01AG083173) began on August 15.

Staff shortages in nursing homes are an important factor that impacts the quality of care that nursing home residents receive, their health outcomes, and the wellbeing of healthcare workers. The COVID-19 pandemic drove increased absences and turnover in nursing homes, exacerbating shortages in many facilities. Staffing shortages in nursing homes disproportionately hurt residents living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as they require more time from the staff.

During public health emergencies, direct funding to nursing homes can prevent staffing losses and maintain safety standards for residents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government introduced PPP loans, an effort to support small businesses in keeping their workers on payroll during the pandemic. PPP loans were forgiven if recipients used at least 60-75% of their loans toward payroll and staffing. 

“The PPP loan program offers a unique natural experiment to evaluate a program that directly funded small businesses—in the case of our project, nursing homes—in an effort to maintain safe staffing levels during a public health emergency,” said Travers.

A recent study led by Travers and published in JAMA Network Open found that PPP loans were effective in supporting nursing homes by improving staffing levels at the height of the pandemic. However, it is unclear if the effects of the program were equitable across nursing homes, particularly those in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods, and whether the improvements in staffing translated into better outcomes for residents with dementia. With the NIA funding, Travers will use a mixed methods approach to explore the effectiveness and equity of PPP funding on nursing home staffing and outcomes. 

“The overall goal of this research is to develop a framework to guide future nursing home responses to public health emergencies that will improve staff patterns and resulting outcomes for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in low-resourced neighborhoods,” said Travers.