AP (July 17)
In the activity room, where birthdays were celebrated and Sunday services were held, the aquarium and its brightly colored tropical fish are the only signs of life. Off quiet hallways, Southern Pines residents pass the time with word-search books or a nap. Meals once were a social time enjoyed at tables of neighbors; now most are delivered bedside. Visitors are resigned to muffled conversations through windowpanes, and the only tickets out may be a trip to dialysis or an ambulance ride to the hospital — or something worse.
GAO Says Assisted-Living Facilities Have Received Little Or No Funding From CARES Act.
The Columbus (OH) Dispatch (7/16, Narciso) reports congressional lawmakers have “appropriated $2.6 trillion in CARES Act Provider Relief Funds to help the country deal with COVID-19 hardships.” Nearly “half, $1.2 trillion, has gone to individuals, businesses, health care providers and state and local governments, according to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office ending May 31, 2020.” Data show “nursing homes have received about one-third of 1% of that funding. Assisted-living facilities – nothing.” However, “Ohio Department of Health figures show long-term care facilities, which include assisted-living, have suffered more than two-thirds of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.” The article says an HHS spokesman “disputed the GAO data and said that additional distributions are planned.”
WPost Examines “Failures” At Virginia Skilled-Nursing Facility With Most Coronavirus Cases In State.
The Washington Post (7/16, Chason) reports on the “failures” at Annandale Healthcare Center, “the skilled-nursing facility that has had the most coronavirus infections in Virginia.” The “facility was one of at least 27 Virginia nursing homes cited recently by inspectors, who paused inspections nationwide at the start of the pandemic but now must examine infection-control practices at all facilities by July 31 in order for states to receive funding for nursing homes through the Cares Act.” Common errors “at Virginia facilities included staffers failing to wear masks or wash their hands and allowing residents who had tested positive for the coronavirus to mix with those who had not, according to public records reviewed by The Washington Post.”
NBC News (July 16)—long-term care ombudsman quoted
The rising numbers alarm nursing home advocates and family members who worry about the safety of vulnerable residents.
Washington Post (July 16)
About four months after visits from family and friends were cut off at nursing homes and care centers throughout the country because of the threat of the novel coronavirus, Donna Horton of Phoenix Assisted Care in Cary, N.C., realized that her elderly residents desperately needed more to keep them engaged. Although socially distanced bingo games were fun, they couldn’t take the place of one-on-one communication with loved ones and friends.
HHS To Expand Testing At Nursing Homes In COVID-19 Hotspots Around The US.
The New York Post (7/15, Moore) reports the Health and Human Services Department “will ratchet up testing at nursing homes in coronavirus hotspots around the country.” Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir said in a statement on Tuesday, “Access to rapid point-of-care testing in nursing homes will further protect our Nation’s most vulnerable patients.” The Post adds, “Distribution of the tests will begin next week and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will prioritize which nursing homes receive them.”
Testing Of LTC Residents, Staff Falls Short.
Stateline (7/15, Van Ness) reports, “Residents and staff at long-term care facilities make up nearly 45% of U.S. coronavirus-related deaths,” but “testing – widely considered to be the most important element of stopping the spread of the virus – falls far short of what experts say is needed.” Just “seven states – Connecticut, Maryland, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and New York – have ongoing, required testing of residents, staff or both.” CMS in May “recommended that long-term care facilities test staff and residents weekly but largely left states on their own to carry it out.”
CBS New York (July 15)
New York State is now allowing limited visits at nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The state health department says people can visit facilities that haven’t had any coronavirus cases for at least 28 days.
The Tennessean (July 15)
Although a recent legal opinion expanded Tennesseans' access to absentee ballots, state officials contend the ruling does not apply to residents in long-term care facilities.
WHYY (July 15)
Gov. Phil Murphy announced that parents and legal guardians of pediatric, developmentally disabled or intellectually disabled residents in long-term care facilities may soon make indoor visits by appointment.