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(Audio) AARP: Neb. nursing home cases and deaths sharply rising

(Audio) AARP: Neb. nursing home cases and deaths sharply rising

Data trends dangerously moving in wrong direction in past few weeks

Lincoln, Neb.  — The latest update of the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard finds Nebraska’s nursing homes continue to face alarming trends, especially rising cases and deaths among residents with nearly 95% of nursing homes reporting confirmed staff cases of COVID-19.

 

Courtesy/states.aarp.org/nebraska/nebraskas-nursing-home-cases-and-deaths-sharply-rising  —  AARP Nebraska State State Director Todd Stubbendieck

“The data shows that Nebraska is desperately moving in a bad direction. Nursing home residents remain in grave danger as the virus enters nursing homes at a frightening pace,” said AARP Nebraska State Director Todd Stubbendieck… 

 

In the four weeks analyzed, Oct.19 to Nov.15, AARP’s dashboard reports that Nebraska nursing homes had:

  • 11 new COVID-19 resident cases per 100 residents, more than three times the rate of 3.4 per 100 in the previous four-week period from Sept. 21 to Oct. 18.  Nearly 56% of facilities have confirmed resident cases, up from 31.4%.
  • 1.27 COVID-19 deaths per 100 residents, nearly three times the previous rate of .45 deaths per 100 residents.
  • 13.4 new staff COVID-19 cases per 100 residents, more than twice as high as last month’s 5.5.
  • 94.6% of facilities with confirmed staff cases, up from 75%.
  • 30% of nursing homes without a 1-week supply of personal protective equipment, up from 27%.
  • 47% of nursing homes with staffing shortages, up from 42%.

For the latest reporting period, nursing home deaths comprised 54% of all COVID-19 deaths in Nebraska. Stubbendieck warned that the trend would continue to worsen unless Nebraskans act immediately to turn the tide.

“This is a call to action for those of us outside nursing homes to do what’s right in order to protect those who are in nursing homes,” he said. “Residents are doing the right thing. They are staying in the facilities, social distancing, and have very limited visitation, but are still bearing the brunt of this disease. For these numbers to look better in January, the rest of us need to change our behavior now.”

Using data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—which is self-reported by nursing homes—the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to provide four-week snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff. The dashboard will continue to be updated every four weeks. The complete dashboard is available at aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard.

As COVID-19 brings to light longstanding flaws in the nation’s long-term care system, AARP’s Public Policy Institute also unveiled a new report in a series on strategies to improve the quality of long-term services and supports (LTSS).The LTSS Choices series, including “COVID-19 and Nursing Home Residents,” is available at aarp.org/ltsschoices.

Throughout the pandemic, AARP has called for the enactment of a 5-point plan to protect nursing home and long-term care facility residents — and save lives — at the federal and state levels:

  • Prioritize regular and ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for residents and staff — as well as inspectors and any visitors.
  • Improve 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.
  • Ensure access to in-person visitation following federal and state guidelines for safety, and require continued access to virtual visitation for all residents.
  • Ensure quality care for residents through adequate staffing, oversight, and access to in-person formal advocates, called long-term care Ombudsmen.
  • Reject immunity for long-term care facilities related to COVID-19.

See more resources and information on COVID-19 and nursing homes at aarp.org/nursinghomes.

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