BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- According to the AARP Nursing Home dashboard, nursing home residents and staff experienced a surge in coronavirus days prior to the landfall of Hurricane Ida. AARP has now called on long-term care facilities to require staff and residents to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
Although almost a full week prior to the hurricane, resident cases still increased from 56 to 519 and staff cases increased from 135 to 1,171 since the mid-July report, according to the latest data from AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. Resident deaths have also increased from 3 to 49 over the previous four-week period. Cases are concentrated among the unvaccinated: nationally, those residents were three times as likely to contract COVID-19 last month compared to residents who are fully vaccinated.
“This month’s dashboard underscores why all staff and residents in long-term care facilities must be vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Denise Bottcher, AARP Louisiana State Director. “For unvaccinated nursing home residents, their risk of an infection is back up to the levels we saw a year ago. At least 3,071 people in Louisiana who lived and worked in nursing facilities have died from COVID-19, and no one wants to see that tragedy repeated. Facilities should require that all staff and residents are vaccinated, so we can slow the spread of new variants and save lives.
AARP Louisiana continues to fight to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care. If you have an older spouse, sibling, parent or other loved one in a nursing home, here are eight key questions to ask, as recommended by experts:
1. How far along are COVID-19 vaccinations?
2. Has anyone in the facility tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks?
3. What is the facility doing to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks?
4. How are staff and other people entering the facility being screened for COVID-19
5. What is the nursing home doing to help residents stay connected with their families or other loved ones during this time?
6. How is the facility communicating important information to residents and their loved ones on a regular basis?
7. Is the nursing home currently at full staffing levels for nurses, aides and other workers?
8. How are healthy-living programs being maintained?
For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.