LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Policies needed to address care facilities

Posted 6/10/20

To the Editor: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the health of millions of Americans, individuals in nursing homes and assisted living communities are especially vulnerable and face additional challenges. According to the Alzheimer's

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Policies needed to address care facilities

Posted

To the Editor:

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the health of millions of Americans, individuals in nursing homes and assisted living communities are especially vulnerable and face additional challenges. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 48 percent of nursing home residents are living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and, among older adults in assisted living and other residential facilities, 42 percent or more have some form of Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association has released important guidance urging policymakers to implement new policy solutions to address the dramatic and evolving issues impacting nursing homes and assisted living communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alzheimer’s Association’s policy recommendations urge lawmakers to improve the response to COVID-19 in long-term care settings.

Each nursing home and assisted living community must have the onsite capability to verify that all residents, staff and visitors are free of COVID-19 infection. All cases of COVID-19 at nursing homes and assisted living communities need to be reported immediately and accurately. Any reported “hot spots” should trigger careful, ongoing monitoring and, if conditions warrant, “strike teams” should be employed to the facility to provide needed support until the outbreak is appropriately contained and eliminated. All nursing homes and assisted living communities must have full access to all needed PPE, testing equipment, training and external support to keep them COVID-19 free.

State and federal policymakers must continue to implement new policy solutions which will address the immediate and long term issues impacting care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donna M. McGowan

Executive Director

Alzheimer’s Association, Rhode Island Chapter

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