AARP AARP States Illinois

New AARP Dashboard Shows Just 22.6% of Illinois Nursing Homes Meet Industry Benchmark for Staff Vaccinations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, July 23, 2021

CONTACT:
Monika Wnuk, Associate State Director of Communications
Email: mwnuk@aarp.org ; Cell: (312) 402-5257

 
New AARP Dashboard Shows Just 22.6% of Illinois Nursing Homes Meet Industry Benchmark for Staff Vaccinations

AARP Illinois Urges Continued Vigilance to Protect Residents from Virus

The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard incorporates new data on vaccination rates among nursing home staff and residents, and finds that just 22.6% of Illinois nursing homes meet an industry benchmark of having at least 75% of staff fully vaccinated.

Nationally, slightly more than half of health care workers in nursing homes were fully vaccinated (56%) and about 78% of residents were fully vaccinated as of the week ending June 20. Here in Illinois, 56.4% of staff were fully vaccinated and 78.9% of residents.

At the national level, COVID cases and deaths have dropped significantly from the previous dashboard release. Deaths of nursing home residents in Illinois continue to decrease what they were in the previous period, dropping from a rate of 10% to 5% per 100 residents. New infections among residents and staff also declined. Resident cases went from 5% to 2% per 100 residents, and new staff cases increased/declined from 9% to 2% per 100 residents.

While rates of cases and deaths have improved from the height of the pandemic, chronic problems revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic continue. The most recent data shows that 13.6% of nursing homes in Illinois had an urgent need for PPE in the four-week period ending June 20. Also during this time period, 21% of nursing homes reported a shortage of nurses or aides.

“The drop in cases and deaths in nursing homes is welcome news,” said Bob Gallo, AARP State Director. “But the potential for the highly contagious Delta variant to cause more harm to residents and staff is very real. We must do everything we can to keep them safe from the virus, which means encouraging residents and staff in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect themselves, their family and their community.”

“While we are seeing lower numbers of cases and death than in previous reports, we need to continue monitoring the latest information on vaccination rates,” said Rosanna Marquez, AARP State President. “Residents and staff of nursing homes were devastated by this virus and we can’t let that happen again. We must remain vigilant and redouble efforts to encourage residents and staff in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect themselves, their family and their community.

AARP recently submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) recommending the federal government commit to working with states, long-term care facilities, and other entities to ensure that facilities can access and administer vaccines on a continuing basis for the foreseeable future. The letter also applauds CMS for publishing data on nursing home vaccinations, and calls on the agency to offer that data in a more user-friendly format. AARP has repeatedly urged transparency and public reporting about the impact of COVID on nursing facilities.

AARP Illinois continues to fight for reforms to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care. Specifically, AARP Illinois continues to advocate for:

o      Prioritize regular and ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for residents and staff—as well as for inspectors and any visitors.

o      Ensure access to in-person visitation following federal and state guidelines for safety and require continued access to virtual visitation for all residents.

o      Ensure quality care for residents through adequate staffing, oversight, and access to in-person formal advocates, called long-term care Ombudsmen.

o      Reject immunity and hold long-term care facilities accountable when they fail to provide adequate care to residents. 

o      Ensure progress is made so that in-person visitation can safely occur and facilitate virtual visitation.

o      Create a pathway for single occupancy rooms in nursing homes.

The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus' infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, to identify specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.

The complete Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP's advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.


About AARP

AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.

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