AL Industry News

Essential Caregivers Honored In National Assisted Living Week Theme For 2020

Essential Caregivers Honored In National Assisted Living Week Theme For 2020
McKnight’s Senior Living (6/5, Bonvissuto) reports, “With a nod to essential frontline caregivers battling COVID-19, ‘Caring is EssentiAL’ has been announced as the theme of this year’s National Assisted Living Week.” According to AHCA/NCAL, “The theme…is more relevant today than in recent years and highlights the incredible care provided by essential caregivers in assisted living communities across the country.” National Assisted Living Week was “established by NCAL in 1995,” and will be observed this year from September 13 to September 19.

AHCA/NCAL Addresses Support Needed By LTC Providers
In various news sources, AHCA/NCAL is quoted regarding the situation faced by LTC providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Vox (6/3, Scott, 2.27M) reports on the toll of coronavirus on nursing homes. According to Vox, “America has done a poor job funding and overseeing long-term care for decades, and there had not been adequate emergency planning for a crisis like the US is experiencing now with the coronavirus.” Many “of the structural problems that left nursing homes vulnerable can be traced back decades.” In addition, according to a statement by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, “Long-term care providers are facing an unprecedented situation that has left them begging for testing, personal protective equipment and staffing resources.”

Politico (6/4, Severns, Roubein, 4.29M) reports AHCA said in a statement, “Long-term care providers are putting significant resources toward responding to this crisis, whether through acquiring high-priced personal protective equipment, offering staff ‘hero pay’ and hiring additional help, or in testing residents and staff. … More support to nursing homes and assisted living communities will be needed, and it requires a collective effort from the public and private sectors to support long term care.”

WNBC-TV New York (6/4, 344K) reports that in a statement to NBC-owned television stations, AHCA said, “Long-term care providers have been left begging for testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional staffing. … For instance, our health care workers with suspected COVID-19 had to wait days, sometimes weeks, to get a test and then its results.”

Member Organizations Respond To Newly-Released Coronavirus Data
Following the release of federal data on how COVID-19 has affected nursing homes, AHCA/NCAL state affiliates address the new numbers. For example, Tuscaloosa (AL) News (6/4, Taylor, 122K) reports Alabama Nursing Home Association president and CEO Brandon Farmer said, “Because we are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19, we expect the number of COVID-19 cases to rise as more tests are administered and the data is added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) system. … The Alabama Nursing Home Association hopes this data will be used to prioritize resources for skilled nursing facilities.” Farmer added, “We are following the guidelines set forth by the multiple state and federal agencies that regulate our sector. No other business or health care provider reports COVID-19 cases to more government entities and people than nursing homes.”

The Connecticut Mirror (6/4) reports Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities president Matthew Barrett and another association leader wrote, “Thousands of nursing home residents with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 are presenting as having recovered from the virus based on the data released tonight.” They added, “Official recovery statistics are anticipated to be included in future weekly reports. The recovery dynamic is testimony to the perseverance and dedication of the nursing home employees and their determination to get nursing home residents to a place of recovery in battling the highly contagious virus.”

Space Coast (FL) Daily (6/4) reports, “The Florida Health Care Association hailed the overall response to COVID-19 by long term care centers in the state, citing newly released federal data showing that Florida’s rate of nursing home cases and fatalities related to the pandemic.” FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed said, “These new numbers show what an incredible job our dedicated health care workers are doing at long term care centers across Florida, despite overwhelming odds.” In addition, “former Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, who is president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, said the new nationwide comparison supports the need for additional resources sought by nursing homes since the beginning of the pandemic.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (6/4, Teegardin, 895K) reports, “Tony Marshall, president and CEO of the Georgia Health Care Association, which represents long-term care providers across the state, said some nursing homes encountered technical problems when trying to register for the new data system, but he said they were working to meet the requirements.” According to Marshall, “They certainly don’t want to be fined and risk their own operating licenses for failure to comply.”

The Anderson (IN) Herald Bulletin (6/4, Bulletin, 36K) reports, “Zach Cattell, president of the Indiana Health Care Association, said the association has made it clear to state and federal officials from the start of the pandemic there was a need for essential personal protective equipment and testing in the facilities.” In addition, “Cattell said the association is encouraged that the state is looking at testing of nursing home staffs in a coordinated, efficient manner.” Cattell added, “We look forward to continued dialogue with the state for sustained and operationally efficient testing for staff.”

Nursing Home Compare Database Updated To Include Building-Level Data On COVID-19 Outbreaks
Skilled Nursing News (6/4, Spanko) reports, “The federal government on Thursday afternoon updated its Nursing Home Compare database to include individual building level-data on COVID-19 outbreaks, following through on a transparency pledge months in the making.” CMS’ “Thursday move also included the release of all nursing home surveys conducted since March 4, when CMS reoriented its entire inspection strategy around targeting infection control violations.” Now, “moving forward, the Nursing Home Compare data will be updated weekly.”

Patients With Coronavirus Who Have High Blood Pressure Have Higher Risk Of Dying From The Infection, Study Indicates
CNN (6/4, Fox, 83.16M) reports that research indicates patients with coronavirus who have “high blood pressure have twice the risk of dying from the infection.” The findings were published in the European Heart Journal.

Blood Pressure Medications Could Help Protect Against Severe COVID-19, Study Suggests. Reuters (6/4, Joseph) reports drugs widely used “to control high blood pressure may help protect against severe COVID-19, a new study found, allaying concerns that they could make the illness caused by the coronavirus worse.” Overall, patients with high blood pressure “did have twice the risk of death and were more likely to need mechanical ventilation to help them breathe than those without hypertension – a known risk factor – researchers reported on Thursday in the European Heart Journal.” But those “taking any type of medicine to control their blood pressure had a significantly lower risk of death from COVID-19 than those not treated for their hypertension in the study of nearly 2,900 patients admitted in February and March to Huo Shen Shan Hospital in Wuhan, China – the original epicenter of the pandemic.”

Nitrogen‐Containing Bisphosphonates May Be Associated With Reduced Pneumonia Risk In Older Adults With Hip Fracture, Study Suggests
Healio (6/4, Schaffer, 28K) reports, “Older adults prescribed nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate therapy after a hip fracture were less likely to develop pneumonia or die from the infection compared with similar adults who received no osteoporosis therapy.” The findings were published online in the Journal of Bone & Mineral Research.

Small-House Models For Senior Living May Emerge As Attractive Option Following Pandemic
Senior Housing News (6/3, Regan) reports, “Small-house senior living may be well-suited to handle the disruptions of the [COVID-19].” From providers to senior living architects, “there is a sense that small-house senior living may emerge from the current era as a more attractive option, particularly if the model can prove its worth in preventing the spread of [COVID-19].” However, “there are some sizable obstacles to making the model work,” such as “the affordability of small-house communities, which often lie on the boutique side and can carry higher rates than their traditional senior living counterparts, especially if they focus on a service like memory care.”

Thoroughly Understanding Key F-Tags, Emergency Preparedness Requirements Key For Nursing Homes To Avoid Infection-Control Fines, Expert Says
McKnight’s Long Term Care News (6/4, Brown) reports, “Developing a thorough understanding of key F-tags and emergency preparedness requirements are key strategies nursing homes should adopt to ensure they avoid steep fines following infection-control focused surveys.” Specifically, “having an in-depth knowledge of F880, F884, F885 and emergency preparedness requirements noted in Appendix Z E0042 is critical for providers hoping to comply with infection control requirements during the coronavirus pandemic, according to” one expert. This expert told McKnight’s, “Knowledge of the regulations allows providers to conduct a self-assessment to determine if there is a gap between expectations for compliance and the facility policies and daily operations.”

LTC Operators Should Take Action Now To Reduce Risk Of Future Data Loss, Tech Expert Says
In a piece for McKnight’s Long Term Care News (6/4), technology expert Brad Smith writes, “In a world where mass data technology is now a staple instead of cutting-edge, health organizations are housing more sensitive data than ever.” According to Smith, “Cyber attacks can take place from multiple angles, which means a weak point anywhere in a provider’s system can quickly lead to compromised information.” Smith suggests a variety of security measures, including using “a Virtual Private Network (VPN).” In conclusion, Smith says, “Taking the appropriate actions now for existing data banks can reduce the risk of data loss in the future – without compromising the convenience and opportunity that comes with e-health.”

Author Highlights Infection Control Measures, Ways To Keep Spirits Up During Pandemic
McKnight’s Senior Living (6/4), Mica Phillips writes, “Even as COVID-19-related restrictions begin to lift in some areas of the country, many senior living communities are continuing no-visitation policies and are considering comprehensive screening and visitation policies for when the time is right.” Phillips says, among “the most important actions a senior living community can take against COVID-19 involve infection control,” which “includes increased cleanings and disinfecting of all common areas, as well as resident rooms.” According to Phillips, once “necessary measures are implemented to help flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19 in senior living and care facilities, many residents increasingly feel isolated,” but “staff members can take some simple steps to help combat depression and bring joy into residents’ lives,” such as scheduling “a time when residents can open their doors and join together for music and singing.”