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AARP Sounds Alarm on COVID Vaccination Rates for Nursing Home Staff

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 [LANSING, MI] -- The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard incorporates new data on vaccination rates among staff and residents, and finds that just 6% of Michigan 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 Michigan, 74.5% of residents have been fully vaccinated and 46.9% of staff.

At the national level, COVID cases and deaths have dropped significantly from the previous dashboard release. Deaths of nursing home residents in Michigan decreased from what they were in the previous period, dropping from a rate of .13 to .07 per 100 residents. New infections among residents and staff in the state also declined. Resident cases went from .74 to .20 per 100 residents, and new staff cases declined from 2.4 to .32 per 100 residents.

The latest release also showed staffing shortages continued at 33.9% of Michigan nursing homes, down slightly from 36.8% in the previous reporting period, while there was urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) at .078% of nursing homes, down slightly from .087%.

“While we are seeing lower numbers of cases and deaths than in previous reports, we need to continue monitoring the latest information on vaccination rates,” said Paula D. Cunningham, AARP State Director. “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 Michigan continues to fight for reforms to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care. Specifically, AARP Michigan continues to work with state lawmakers and the governor to enact or make permanent the components of AARP's five-point plan:

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         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.

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.

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.

 

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