HARRISBURG, Pa., April 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- AARP Pennsylvania issued the following statement today in response to the state's efforts to control the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities:
"While we appreciate the actions that our state's elected and healthcare leaders have taken to address the crisis, considering Pennsylvania has one of the oldest populations in the United States and is home to nearly 126,000 people residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, we believe that more must be done to protect Pennsylvania's nursing facility residents."
"Given recent press reports, we are troubled that some families remain in the dark about the care that their loved one is receiving, that facilities are not communicating to families quickly about developing COVID-19 cases in facilities, and that the workers on the frontlines are completely overwhelmed and lack the equipment and support they need."
"With the crisis continuing to worsen, we cannot afford to wait another second to shine a light on the situations facing our nursing facility residents and staff. Our system must be more transparent."
In a letter delivered to Governor Wolf, AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh called on the Wolf Administration to immediately address the following:
- When and how will the Department of Health (DOH) make public the names of nursing facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases?
- How will you ensure that all facilities have a point of contact for families and regularly report to families about the number of known COVID-19 positive cases among residents and staff, mortalities in the facility, and any reductions in staffing levels compared to staffing levels before the declaration of the state emergency?
- When and how will you make public information around DOH's mentioned plans to transfer COVID-19 positive residents from nursing facilities into other facilities?
- How will you ensure that nursing homes have adequate staff to meet the demand resulting from the crisis?
- How are you managing nursing facility access to and appropriately use of critical PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among staff and residents?
- Would you consider engaging the Office of Advocacy and Reform to serve as centralized entity focusing on these nursing home issues?
"We know that older adults and those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to coronavirus and more likely to die from this disease," said Johnston-Walsh. "State officials, nursing home operators, and family caregivers must all work together during this crisis to ensure residents remain healthy and connected with their families."
AARP has 1.8 million members in Pennsylvania. Follow AARP Pennsylvania on Facebook at AARPPA and on Twitter @AARPPA.
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.
SOURCE AARP Pennsylvania