Protect Older Adults from COVID-19

Minnesota has known for months that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are a hotbed for the coronavirus infection, accounting for an alarming 78% of all COVID-19 related deaths. 

This is unacceptable. It's been over four months since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Minnesota and a resurgence is likely this fall. More must be done to improve conditions in long-term care facilities.

Tell Governor Walz to take immediate action to protect long-term care residents, workers, and their loved ones. 

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Message

Dear [Decision Maker],

Minnesota must protect older, vulnerable adults in nursing homes and other congregate settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We've known for months that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are a hotbed for the coronavirus infection, accounting for an alarming 78% of all COVID-19 related deaths.




I urge you to act immediately to stem the loss of life and improve conditions in Minnesota's long-term care facilities by:

1. Requiring Infection Control Plans: The importance of sound infection controls plans are critical, and yet not all assisted living facilities have a plan related to COVID-19, nor an infection control specialist.

2. Funding for Testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Testing of all staff and residents is critical, not only to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 but also as a necessary first step in reopening facilities so residents can once again be reconnected with their loved ones.

3. Protections Against Arbitrary Discharges and Home Care Services Terminations: We must maintain the important protections against arbitrary discharges, service terminations and appeal rights for assisted living facilities that are slated to go into effect in August 2021. But now that the landscape has changed due to the COVID -19 pandemic, it is clear these protections are even more important for the health and safety of the residents and the community at large. The Office of the Ombudsman for Long-term Care still reports that nearly 40% of their calls relate to transfers and discharges from services.

4. Strengthening Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Guidance on Access to Facilities by Essential Caregivers: MDH issued guidance that recommends facilities designate a family caregiver who is allowed visitation rights. Unfortunately, this guidance is not enforceable. Please require all facilities to designate an essential caregiver going forward.

5. Improving Surveys and Maltreatment Investigations: Under current law, assisted living facilities are only surveyed once every three years. With limited oversight by MDH, more resources are necessary for infection control surveys and maltreatment investigations including alleviating isolation of residents during COVID-19 in these facilities.

The gravity of this situation cannot be overstated. Please act immediately to protect long-term care residents, staff, their loved ones, and the surrounding communities from this deadly virus.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]