“The workforce who tends to do this work are typically low-wage, often women, often people of color. These are the soldiers we’re sending into what’s essentially a war zone. We need to make a commitment to them — if you get sick, we’ll have your back,” Yarnell said.
And, he added that people working in long-term care facilities should be getting hazard pay.
“The focus has been on the hospitals, but every sector of caregiving should be staffed and supplied appropriately. People need to feel supported in this moment,” Yarnell said.
“It’s a value question for our society. Right now, our health care institutions are motivated by tight budgets that mean we don’t have the supplies we need to fight this invisible enemy,” he said.
The AHCA/NCAL agreed. “We desperately need PPE and priority testing. We are now at the point we are calling on the public for donations for PPE to long-term care providers,” they said.
Despite doing everything they can to conserve PPE, providers are still struggling to get supplies. The AHCA/NCAL said they’re worried that some facilities may exhaust their PPE supplies.
“That is why we are calling for everyone to assist, including partners in other industries and the public, to do everything they can to assist us at this time. We cannot beat this virus alone, and we appreciate everything the Administration, Congress, states, our partnering manufacturers, and members of the public can do right now,” the organization said.
Should loved ones come home?
All of these problems have left families in a difficult situation. Should they take their loved ones out of nursing homes to keep them safe?
“That’s a very challenging question,” Baron said. “Presumably, there’s a reason they were in the nursing home in the first place. It’s likely that their care needs were overwhelming for the family. If it was for specific health care reasons that likely hasn’t changed for the better, the nursing home may still be the safest place for them to be.”
But, he noted, if it was because no one was home to care for them, and now people aren’t working, it might be an option.
“Each situation is individual. It’s important to remember the risks involved with moving anyone from one environment to another,” Baron said.