[LANSING, MI] – The latest release of AARP's Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows that despite the recent sharp increases in COVID cases in the general population in Michigan, both cases and deaths in nursing homes declined to new lows in the four weeks ending March 21.
Although these rates are improving, chronic problems in nursing homes—revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic—continue. In Michigan, during the most recent reporting period, nearly one-third of nursing homes still reported a shortage of nurses or aides, a decrease from 36.8 percent from the previous reporting period.
Deaths of nursing home residents in Michigan are significantly lower than in the previous period, dropping from a rate of .70 to .08 per 100 residents. New infections among residents also dropped substantially from 2.3 per 100 residents to .32. Cases among staff fell by half, from 2.3 per 100 residents to 1.15. Nearly all these numbers represent low points in Michigan since AARP launched the dashboard in June of last year.
The decreases in death and case rates coincide with increases in vaccinations of nursing home residents and staff. State health officials say all nursing home residents and staff have had an opportunity to be inoculated.
“The good news is COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes are finally on the decline, and facilities continue providing vaccines to both residents and staff,” said Paula D. Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director. “But, we cannot breathe a real sigh of relief until the chronic, ongoing problems in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, such as staff shortages, have been resolved.”
AARP Michigan continues to fight for reforms to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care. AARP Michigan was represented on the Michigan Nursing Home COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force and is pleased to see steps being taken to improve transparency and infection control.
AARP's five-point plan calls for:
o Prioritizing regular and ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for residents and staff—as well as for inspectors and any visitors.
o Improving transparency focused on daily, public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities; communication with families about discharges and transfers; and accountability for state and federal funding that goes to facilities.
o Ensuring access to in-person visitation following federal and state guidelines for safety and require continued access to virtual visitation for all residents.
o Ensuring quality care for residents through adequate staffing, oversight, and access to in-person formal advocates, called long-term care Ombudsmen.
o Rejecting immunity and hold long-term care facilities accountable when they fail to provide adequate care to residents.
The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus' infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, to identify specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.
The complete Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP's advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.
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, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.
This story is provided by AARP Michigan. Visit the AARP Michigan page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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