Nursing homes continue to beg the Trump Administration to provide immediate access to ample PPE for frontline and healthcare workers to keep them safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Nursing homes report they have to “scrounge for [personal protective equipment] in places that they can’t even begin to describe.”
“PPE literally stands between us and infection. It stands between health and illness, and it is so critically important, as is the access to testing,” Carol Silver Elliott, president and CEO of Jewish Home Family, said during a press conference.
The call for PPE is a part of the nursing home industry’s lobbyists’ five-point action plan for policymakers to help protect seniors and workers as some states start to reopen. The organization wants states to provide assurances that they won’t reopen without first ensuring seniors are safe and protected under the plan.
The plan also calls for the recognition of frontline workers in nursing homes, assisted living, affordable housing and home- and community-based settings; access to on-demand access to rapid testing and results for seniors and providers; and for Congress to allocate $100 billion to cover COVID-19 needs and provide support to aging services.
The funding would be used to provide hazard pay for frontline workers, federal housing assistance, support to deliver telehealth, access to loans, Medicaid increases and administrative relief.
“Our nation has undervalued and underinvested in older adults for far too long. It didn’t have to come to this, but here we are. These five essential actions must be taken now,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said.
Smith Sloan added that the organization’s hopes were raised when it was announced that FEMA would provide PPE to nursing homes, but they were quickly dashed when they learned it would only be two weeks worth of supplies.