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LeadingAge Nursing Home Members Support Texas Action to Gather and Leverage Data

Thursday, April 16, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alyse Meyer
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Aging Services Providers Dedicated to Fulfilling Their Critical Role in Public Health System

Austin, TX – The need for solid information about COVID-19 diagnoses is critical to the successful fight against the novel coronavirus. LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit nursing homes and other providers of aging services, and its affiliate, LeadingAge Texas encourages action by Texas leaders to gather and leverage data.

The COVID-19 virus is taking a toll on nursing home residents and the dedicated staff providing care, yet we remain committed to turning this pandemic around.

Nursing homes are an integral component of the public health system. They offer a service unlike any provided in other care settings to older residents with complex health care needs and life-threatening conditions.

The combined physical and emotional impact of the pandemic is unprecedented for nursing homes in Texas. The incidents of COVID-related deaths are increasing in nursing homes, consistent with data indicating the impact the virus has on older populations.

Every day, nursing home staff do their part to aggressively prevent and mitigate the spread, while delivering compassionate care under challenging circumstances. Among the key defenses against infection transmission in nursing homes is the use of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) for nursing home staff and residents. However, the shortages are very real, and distribution networks overwhelmed. Likewise, testing is inadequate. As has happened in several nursing homes in Texas and elsewhere, asymptomatic staff have unknowingly spread the virus to residents and other staff resulting in clusters of cases. Until all staff and residents can be tested regularly and quickly, these types of situations are nearly impossible to avoid.

Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO of LeadingAge, said, “We have been working in partnership with LeadingAge Texas as it battles the pandemic. Nursing home staff is on the front line in caring for older adults. They must be prioritized for PPE and testing supplies -- particularly as nursing homes nationwide have assumed increased responsibilities as partners to hospitals in caring for COVID-19 discharges. We fully expect that consistent reporting of cases will lead to adequate and timely access to PPE and testing.”

The pervasiveness of this virus and the limited supplies has led to the spread of the virus among the workforce and residents, leading to staffing shortages that result in longer shifts and multiple days of duty without breaks in service.

George Linial, President and CEO of LeadingAge Texas said, “The services that aging services organizations, including nursing homes provide are fundamental to the lives of the people we serve, their families, and our communities across Texas. Our members care deeply about the role we play to provide much-needed care, services, and supports as this crisis continues. Adequate testing and PPE supplies are critical if we are going to get a handle on this pandemic.”

About LeadingAge Texas: Established in 1959, we represent more than 350 members, including approximately 200 of Texas' finest retirement housing communities, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, and home and community-based services providers. Over 30,000 older Texans reside in LeadingAge Texas-member communities. Thousands more are served through home health services, adult day care centers, and other community out-reach services. LeadingAge Texas members are sponsored primarily by community-based nonprofit civic, religious, fraternal, and other quality groups and are mission-driven organizations. LeadingAge Texas is committed to assisting its members in providing the highest quality of services possible to the residents they serve. For more information: www.leadingagetexas.org.

About LeadingAge: We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org.