WASHINGTON— A new AARP analysis shows that COVID-19 cases, deaths, and staffing shortages in nursing homes are at the highest levels since June 1. National rates of COVID-19 among both residents and staff have doubled in the four weeks ending November 15, with resident cases increasing from 2.8 to 5.7 per 100 residents, and staff cases increasing from 2.7 to 5.4 per 100 staff members. In that same period, nursing homes reported that deaths per 100 residents increased from 0.47 to 0.78. As of early December, more than 106,000 nursing home and other long-term care facility residents and staff have died from COVID-19, about 40 percent of all deaths attributed to the virus in the United States.
“Once again, coronavirus is sweeping through our nation’s nursing homes with devastating results,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “This is an unconscionable national disgrace. Federal and state officials must take immediate action to reverse these trends and ensure transparent reporting, adequate staffing and sufficient PPE and testing to keep residents and staff safe.”
The AARP COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Earlier this year, AARP fought for public reporting of nursing home COVID-19 cases and deaths. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.
AARP has proposed a five-point plan to protect nursing home residents, which includes regular testing and reporting, adequate PPE and staffing, transparency and accountability for how state and federal COVID funds are used, virtual visitation for families and a rejection of blanket legal immunity for long-term care facilities.
AARP also released a paper today examining several national and state studies of how coronavirus spread through nursing homes, and recommending strategies to reduce infection rates and deaths. Part of a new AARP Public Policy Institute series called LTSS Choices, the paper summarizes existing research and offers recommendations to improve quality care, such as increasing access to telehealth services and expanding the number of full time staff positions. There are also policy recommendations for state and federal officials, including holding nursing homes accountable for the use of federal funds and imposing more meaningful fines on facilities that do not practice good infection control. The full paper and others in the LTSS Choices series are available here.
The full COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.