ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- While we appreciate the efforts of the Administration to ensure nursing homes will receive the PPE they need to continue the fight against COVID-19, we are concerned that the plan announced by Vice President Pence to governors Friday excludes assisted living communities from the upcoming shipment of PPE. This could have grave consequences for the 2 million residents and 1 million staff that live and work in senior living communities.
Like nursing homes, assisted living and other senior living communities are on the front lines of this crisis, caring for the most vulnerable population of Americans. They are taking tremendous steps to keep residents safe and out of hospitals, but urgently and critically need PPE to continue doing so.
"The exclusion of assisted living and other senior living communities from this order neglects to recognize the care delivered to our seniors and the work of our team members, and we strongly encourage the Trump Administration to reconsider it," said James Balda, President & CEO of Argentum. "Lives will be saved if we can get our communities the PPE that they still desperately need."
Furthermore, the implication that the provision of personal care services does not require PPE is false. Personal care includes helping residents with bathing and dressing; assisting with personal grooming such as brushing teeth; assisting with toileting and incontinence needs; and feeding residents who are unable to feed themselves. Asking staff to perform these vital activities of daily living for those with physical limitations or cognitive decline without proper PPE would be unsafe for both residents and staff.
Having the resources to protect and test residents and staff, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, is absolutely critical to containing the spread of COVID-19 in senior living communities. And failure on the front lines of this crisis will have significant implications beyond senior living communities.
The senior living industry is caring for and protecting the nation's most vulnerable population, thereby serving as a backstop against the surge of people coming to America's hospitals. A rise in COVID-19 cases in senior living communities will result in increased hospital admissions, straining already limited healthcare resources.
"For weeks, we've been advocating for priority access to PPE and testing for senior living communities," said David Schless, President of the American Seniors Housing Association. "The senior living industry is vitally important to the health of our overall healthcare system and should be treated as such by our elected officials."
The top priority of senior living communities is the safety of their residents and staff. While assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care communities are doing everything they can to protect residents and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, reliable access to PPE supplies is absolutely critical to continuing the fight against COVID-19.
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults.
Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum's membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industry—an industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. These numbers will continue to grow as the U.S. population ages.
The American Seniors Housing Association represents over 550 companies that develop, own, operate and finance the full spectrum of housing for seniors, including active adult, independent living, assisted living, memory care, and life plan communities. ASHA's members consist of both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations who own and /or operate more than 750,000 units in the U.S. and Canada. The organization was created in 1991 and focuses on advocacy, research, executive level meetings, and consumer education delivered through a digital platform that can be visited at WhereYouLiveMatters.org. For more information about ASHA, please visit seniorshousing.org
Press contact: Jessica McKay, [email protected]
SOURCE American Seniors Housing Association; Argentum