Press Release: 6 Questions You Need to Ask If Your Loved One Is In Long-Term Care

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Nursing home populations have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 in Oregon and across the nation. AARP has some ideas to help families navigate this issue.

“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,” said Ruby Haughton-Pitts, State Director for AARP Oregon. AARP recommends family members ask key questions if a family member is in a nursing home or assisted living.

  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 being screened for COVID-19, especially when they leave and re-enter the home?
  • What precautions are in place for residents who are not in private rooms?

  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 of a loved one living in a nursing home, contact the Oregon Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 800-522-2602. Families and caregivers can also find additional information and resources about COVID-19.

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

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