COVID-19 in nursing homes came from community spread

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Community spread has been the leading cause of COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, new research shows.

The review looked at 36 studies. The final analysis was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The American Health Care Association said the paper supported other findings showing that a facility’s size and location were the best predictors of whether a facility would have an outbreak, particularly if it was located in a area with high COVID-19 rates.

The study also determined that if communities had been able to control the virus, nursing homes would have had a better chance of minimizing outbreaks.

The review also determined that ownership and performance were not strong indicators of a nursing home’s pandemic preparedness, according to the American Health Care Association.

Residents of long-term care facilities are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 due to their age and other medical conditions.

The American Health Care Association said caregivers and facilities often lacked support and resources such as personal protective equipment and testing, at least early in the pandemic.

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living have requested meetings with President Biden, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They want to discuss ways government, facilities and providers can implement changes to help protect residents and employees.

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