Keeping Our Nursing Homes Safe

May 1, 2020

To the Editor:

Re “The Disaster at Nursing Homes,” by Richard Mollot (Op-Ed, April 29):

Long-term care providers are facing a historic threat from Covid-19, and our caregivers are among the heroes of this fight.

Those who work in nursing homes and assisted-living communities are doing everything in their power to keep our seniors safe in this pandemic. But we need more help. Despite our repeated pleas, the public health system has not made us a priority.

Long-term care facilities still lack adequate personal protective equipment, testing and staffing support. Currently, we are not able to test all residents and staff, making it difficult to identify and isolate asymptomatic residents and staff. With immediate access to testing, we can slow the spread of the virus. And we urgently need personal protective equipment so that our staff is protected while caring for residents.

Even under these circumstances, the vast majority of long-term care residents are recovering. It’s not too late. Our country rallied around hospitals. Now it’s time to rally around long-term care facilities. The greatest generation and the most vulnerable in our society deserve it.

Mark Parkinson
The writer, a former governor of Kansas, is president and chief executive of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living.

Originally published in The New York Times.