Congress Must Protect Nursing Home Residents

Posted on 07/16/20 by Scott Wegenast

AARP National Campaign Pushing Five Point Plan to Protect Nursing Home Residents and Staff

WASHINGTON – AARP announced it was ramping up efforts to move Congress to enact a five point plan to prevent further COVID deaths in the nation’s nursing homes. More than 56,000 people living and working in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from the coronavirus, and many states are reporting record numbers of new coronavirus cases.

Some 400 Kentuckians have died in nursing homes from the Coronavirus, that's more than 60 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky.

“What is happening in America’s nursing homes is tragic and a national disgrace. Congress and the Administration must take immediate bipartisan action,” said AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond. “We are strongly urging Congress and the Administration to provide dedicated funding and strong policy to protect the residents of long-term care facilities, paired with transparency and accountability to ensure that funds are being used to save lives.”

In a letter delivered to Congress, LeaMond called on the Senate to include five critical points in the next coronavirus response package:

1. Ensure regular, ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)

2. Create transparency through daily, public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities, communication with families about discharges and transfers, and funding accountability

3. Require facilities to provide and facilitate virtual visitation

4. Ensure better care for residents through adequate staffing and in-person access to long-term care ombudsmen, and

5. Reject blanket immunity for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities related to COVID-19.

AARP’s campaign will include a significant national television and digital ad blitz telling Congress to act now. In addition, the organization will continue to host tele-town halls and mobilize grassroots activists to contact Congress. AARP members have already sent more than 620,000 messages to members of Congress demanding action.

“We have heard devastating accounts from thousands of families in every corner of the country,” said John Hishta, AARP Senior Vice President of Campaigns. “For the sake of these families, and the residents and staff of long-term care facilities, Congress must act now to save lives. We cannot wait any longer.”

Tell Congress to Protect Nursing Home Residents, visit aarp.org/nursinghomes.

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About AARPAARP 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.

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.