The latest release of AARP's Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard shows that the crisis in these facilities continues as deaths and new infections rise in Louisiana. From December 21 to January 17, deaths among residents increased to 1.72 per 100 residents for a total of 347 residents. Additionally, the rate of coronavirus cases per 100 residents increased from 5.8 to 7.5 among residents for a total of 1,521 and 5.7 to 6.9 among staff for a total of 1,391.
The dashboard found that staffing and PPE shortages remain a significant problem. Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) have declined slightly over the same period, from 15.5% of nursing homes without a one-week supply in December to 15.0% in January. Any nursing home without a one-week supply of PPE is concerning. Meanwhile, staffing shortages remain a persistent problem, with 36.2% of facilities reporting a shortage in the most recent dashboard.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost 3,000 residents and staff in Louisiana nursing homes and other long-term facilities have died, and nationally nearly 1.3 million people are known to have been infected with coronavirus in these facilities.
AARP has been urging state lawmakers to protect nursing home residents and staff from COVID-19.
"We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the first known coronavirus cases in nursing homes, yet the number of deaths and cases in these facilities is at a record level, said Denise Bottcher, AARP Louisiana State Director. “The devastation this pandemic has brought to nursing home residents and their families has exposed fundamental reforms that must be made in nursing homes and to the long-term care system. We cannot lower our guard."
"The nursing home industry in Louisiana has struggled with quality care and infection control for years. AARP continues to urge elected officials to act immediately, focusing this year on:
- Enacting or making permanent the components of AARP's five-point plan:
- Prioritizing regular and ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for residents and staff—as well as for inspectors and any visitors.
- Improving 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.
- Ensuring access to in-person visitation following federal and state guidelines for safety, and require continued access to virtual visitation for all residents.
- Ensuring quality care for residents through adequate staffing, oversight, and access to in-person formal advocates, called long-term care Ombudsmen.
- Reject immunity and hold long-term care facilities accountable when they fail to provide adequate care to residents.
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, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.
The full 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.