(Washington D.C., Thursday, June 25, 2020) – COVID-19 has taken an enormous toll on America’s nursing homes. Thanks to new federal requirements, nursing homes are now reporting on cases and deaths each week, but there are still gaps in the data. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation at least 44,000 people in nursing homes or other long term care facilities have already lost their lives as of June 4th – roughly 2 in 5 COVID-related deaths in America.
An AARP analysis shows an average of 517 nursing home residents and care providers have died in the US every single day of the pandemic. Moreover, homes with a significant number of black and Latino residents are twice as likely to be hit by the coronavirus (source: NY Times).
AARP has heard from thousands of families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus or have struggled to get information about what is happening inside the facility where their loved one lives.
Bill Sweeney, AARP’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, discusses what needs to be done to protect the health and safety of people in nursing homes, including:
- Federal funding to provide testing and PPE for staff and residents. Despite federal guidance, some nursing homes still are not testing all of their staff and residents regularly.
- Virtual visitation for residents and families. Congress should provide adequate funding for the technology, equipment, and other support needed for these visits. Right now, most in-person visits are still prohibited for people in nursing homes, and the CDC has recommended that nursing homes follow strict protocols before they reopen.
- The ability to hold facilities accountable if residents are harmed, neglected or abused. AARP strongly opposes proposals to grant immunity related to COVID-19 for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities, at both the state and federal level.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social mission organization that helps people ages 50 and over live their best possible lives. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. It has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.