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Delaware Nursing Homes Still Lack Adequate PPE and Staff

As COVID-19 cases in Delaware continue to climb, AARP renewed its call for Governor Carney and legislators to better protect nursing home residents and staff from the coronavirus. The latest release of the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard finds alarming trends in Delaware’s nursing homes, including rising resident deaths, rising resident and staff cases, rising staff shortages, and continuing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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. This second dashboard aggregates and analyzes data from nursing homes covering three 4-week time intervals from mid-summer into fall: July 26-Aug. 23, Aug. 24-Sept. 20, and Sept. 21-Oct. 18.

For the period from Sept. 21-Oct. 18, AARP’s dashboard reports that Delaware nursing homes had:

  • 179 COVID-19 resident cases, a sharp increase from 9 in the previous four-week period
  • 156 staff COVID-19 cases, up from 44 in the previous four-week period
  • 11 COVID-19 resident deaths, up from 1 in the previous four-week period
  • 27.3% of nursing homes with staffing shortages, up from 15%
  • 25% of nursing homes without a 1-week supply of PPE, down from 30%

“Nine months since COVID-19 entered nursing homes, cases are rising again, and facilities still don’t have the PPE and staffing needed to protect residents,” said AARP State Director Lucretia Young. “This is a tragedy that must be addressed. Our state leaders need to act to keep residents safe and hold nursing homes accountable.”

AARP has called for the enactment of a plan to protect nursing home and long-term care facility residents:

  • 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.
    Nursing home staff and resident
    VIA GETTY IMAGES

Young added: “Delaware nursing homes have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal funding intended to keep residents safe, but too many measures continue to move in the wrong direction. Governor Carney must hold facilities accountable and ensure our taxpayer dollars are used to save lives.”

The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard will continue to be updated every four weeks. The complete dashboard is available at aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard.

More resources and information on COVID-19 and nursing homes can be found at aarp.org/nursinghomes.

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