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What Would It Take To Ease Restrictions In Nursing Homes?

We’ve been telling you a lot about the challenges facing Arizona’s long-term care facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps most heartbreaking is the  isolation many residents have been forced to endure due to visitation restrictions. 

So what would it take to ease those restrictions? 

The answer: A lot. Especially when it comes to testing.

Will Humble is the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

"The things that we need to do are, A) better testing and staff so that the staff are tested at least once a week, so that they know their status when they come into work. B) Better infection control with performance standards and compliance expectations with enforcement and C) Ubiquitous personal protective equipment and all facilities and training staff for exactly how to use that, so that they're effective at their infection control," he said. 

Dana Marie Kennedy, the state director of AARP Arizona, echoed what Humble said when she testified before members of Congress last week. 

"Testing is also not available or happening in many nursing homes and long term care facilities. In Arizona skilled nursing facilities have done one round of tests of staff and residents and do not plan to do any more preventative testing assisted living facilities have yet to even do one round of testing," Kennedy said. 

Another challenge facing many facilities is the length of time it takes to process tests. 

In a recent survey, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living found that 87% of long-term care facilities said it took two or more days to get results back. 

→  Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease 

News Aging
Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.