Advocates for residents in nursing homes call for improved response to COVID-19

Advocates for residents in nursing homes call for improved response to COVID-19

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -According to AARP, more than 50,000 residents of nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19.

The Louisiana Director of AARP, Denise Bottcher, says basic precautions to stem the loss of life and protect residents are still not in place. She says many families have struggled to find out what’s happening inside facilities where their loved ones live.

Bottcher says more needs to be done by state lawmakers and congress to protect people, including regular testing for residents and staff.

“We know that testing is so very important in this fight against coronavirus and so making sure that nursing homes and other long term care facilities have the right number of tests and that they’re able to conduct that testing, and able to get results to families. And then finally, (they should be able) to let us know and keep the transparency open because the public has a right to know what’s happening in their community,” she said.

Since families have been unable to visit loved ones in facilities. Bottcher says more needs to be done to provide virtual visits.

“Families are not kept in the loop when their loved one is sick, is being transported to the hospital and is sometimes transported back to the nursing home and the families have never been notified,” she said.

The State Health Department has recently stepped up requirements in Louisiana.

“It’s incumbent upon us to hold our leaders’ feet to the fire making sure these guidelines are enforced, that we hold nursing homes accountable and that our leaders in Congress do more for nursing homes,” said Bottcher.

She says AARP wants to make sure facilities can be held accountable if residents are harmed, neglected or abused.

For links to the latest numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths at nursing homes in the state click here.

The Louisiana Nursing Home Association says it is continuously monitoring ongoing developments and that residents will “continue to receive high-quality care and service in a loving, safe environment.”

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