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Is your loved one in a nursing home? 6 Questions you need to ask.

Female nurse helping senior female patient to stand with walker
Front view of mixed race female nurse helping senior African American female patient to stand with walker at nursing home
Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images/iStockphoto

AARP is providing information and resources about COVID-19 to help older Virginians and their families protect themselves from the virus and prevent it from spreading to others.

If you have a spouse, sibling, parent, or other loved one in a nursing home, you may be worried about their safety and well-being because of the coronavirus pandemic. AARP has consulted with leading nursing home experts to provide you with some key questions to ask the nursing home:

1. Has anyone in the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19?

· This includes residents as well as staff or other vendors who may have been in the nursing home.

2. What is the nursing home doing to prevent infections?

· How are nursing home staff, residents, and others being screened for COVID-19, especially when they leave and re-enter the home?

· What precautions are being required of residents, including covering of noses and mouths when staff is in the room, and how is the nursing home helping them to comply?

· Is the nursing home assigning special staff or units for the care of residents who have been infected?

3. Does nursing home staff have the personal protective equipment (PPE)—like masks, face shields, gowns, gloves—that they need to stay safe, and keep their patients safe?

· Have nursing home staff been given specific training on how to use this personal protective equipment?

· If no, what is the plan to obtain personal protective equipment?

4. What is the nursing home doing to help residents stay connected with their families or other loved ones during this time?

· Does the nursing home help residents call their loved ones by phone or video call?

· Will the nursing home set up a regular schedule for you to speak with your loved one?

5. What is the plan for the nursing home to communicate important information to both residents and families on a regular basis?

· Will the nursing home be contacting you by phone or email, and when?

6. Is the nursing home currently at full staffing levels for nurses, aides, and other workers?

· What is the plan to make sure the needs of nursing home residents are met—like bathing, feeding, medication management, social engagement—if the nursing home has staffing shortages?

If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a spouse, parent, or other loved one who lives in a nursing home, contact the Virginia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at (800) 552-3402, and ask to speak to an Ombudsman.

Resources from AARP are also available online at

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