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AHCA, NCAL Issue Statement in Support of the SKILLS Act<p>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) have released the following statement in support of the <a href="https&#58;//keller.house.gov/media/press-releases/congressman-fred-keller-introduces-legislation-connect-workforce-displaced">Strengthening Knowledge, Improving Learning, and Livelihoods (SKILLS) Act,</a> introduced by Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa.). </p><p>The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL president and chief executive officer&#58;</p><p>“We thank Congressman Keller for introducing this important legislation. Today, nearly every nursing home and assisted living community is facing a workforce crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p>“A new <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Nearly-Every-U-S--Nursing-Home-And-Assisted-Living-Community-Is-Facing-A-Workforce-Crisis.aspx">survey </a>of our members found that 86 percent of nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living providers say their workforce situation has gotten worse over the last three months. Providers nationwide are struggling to fill vacant roles, and a lack of qualified candidates is one of the biggest obstacles in hiring workers.</p><p>“The SKILLS Act will help create a pipeline of essential workers for the long term care sector. Strengthening our workforce is critical to providing quality care for the millions of seniors in our nursing homes and assisted living communities, but we need federal resources to accomplish this. </p><p>“We appreciate Congressman Keller making the long term care workforce a priority, and we look forward to working with him to help pass this bill.”​</p>2021-09-24T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/1120_news1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />WorkforceJoanne EricksonA lack of qualified candidates is one of the biggest obstacles in hiring workers, association says.
Most Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Communities Face a Workforce Crisis<p>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) have released a survey of nursing home and assisted living providers across the United States. Results from the survey highlight an urgent need for Congress to address the labor shortage facing the long term care industry.&#160; </p><p>Key findings include&#58;</p><p>•&#160;Eighty-six percent of nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the past three months.</p><p>•&#160;Nearly every nursing home (99 percent) and assisted living facility (96 percent) in the United States is facing a staffing shortage. Fifty-nine percent of nursing homes and nearly one-third of assisted living providers are experiencing a high level of staffing shortages. </p><p>•&#160;More than 7 out of 10 nursing homes and assisted living communities said a lack of qualified candidates and unemployment benefits have been the biggest obstacles in hiring new staff. </p><p>•&#160;Due to these shortages, nearly every nursing home and assisted living community is asking staff to work overtime or extra shifts. Nearly 70 percent of nursing homes are having to hire expensive agency staff. Fifty-eight percent of nursing homes are limiting new admissions.</p><p>•&#160;Seventy-eight percent of nursing homes and 71 percent of assisted living facilities are concerned workforce challenges might force them to close. More than one-third of nursing homes are very concerned about having to shut down their facility(ies).</p><p>“The survey demonstrates the severe workforce challenges long term care providers are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many facilities are struggling to hire and retain staff that are needed to serve millions of vulnerable residents,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL president and chief executive officer.</p><p>“Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care, and that begins with providing resources to address workforce challenges. When facilities have the means to offer competitive wages and training programs, workers will follow,” he said. “We have laid out key proposals in our <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx">Care for Our Seniors Act </a>that will allow us to boost our workforce, but without the help from Congress and state legislators, this will not be possible.”</p><p>Parkinson said the reconciliation package currently under construction is an appropriate vehicle for Congress to fund a long-term solution to address chronic staffing shortages in nursing homes and other long term care facilities. </p><p>“Congress has the opportunity right now, through budget reconciliation, to include meaningful investments in long term care, which will help address key staffing challenges,” he said.</p><p>“Our caregivers are the backbone of long term care, and they deserve the full support of our lawmakers. We cannot allow facilities to close because of these challenges, which will directly impact residents and their families, especially when lawmakers have the means to help solve this dire situation.”</p><p>Survey results can be found <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Workforce-Survey-September2021.pdf">HERE.</a></p>2021-09-22T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0120_News1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />WorkforceJoanne EricksonFifty-eight percent of nursing homes are limiting new admissions due to worker shortages.
Blood Pressure Medication Could Also Treat Vascular Dementia: Study<p>​A new <a href="https&#58;//www.jci.org/articles/view/149029" target="_blank">study</a> published in the <em>Journal of Clinical Investigation</em> reports that a medicine used to treat high blood pressure could also be used to treat individuals with vascular dementia. Researchers at the University of Manchester discovered that the blood pressure drug amlodipine could help treat vascular dementia or stop it early on.<br></p><p>Small vessel diseases of the brain are considered the most common causes of memory loss, implicated in more than 40 percent of dementia cases, according to the study. The main risk factor for the development of the diseases is hypertension, and a number of clinical studies indicate that elevated blood pressure in mid-life is associated with cognitive decline in late-life. However, the cellular mechanisms linking hypertension to memory disturbance are not yet definitively established, the researchers said. <br></p><p>In the study, mice with hypertension were used to test the effects of two types of medicine—amlodipine, a calcium channel blocker that improves blood flow and dilates blood vessels, and losartan, which keeps blood vessels from narrowing, lowers blood pressure, and improves blood flow.<br></p><p>The test showed that chronic hypertension progressively disrupts on-demand delivery of blood to metabolically active areas of the brain (functional hyperemia) through diminished activity of the capillary endothelial cell inward-rectifier potassium channel called Kir2.1. Despite similar efficacy in reducing blood pressure, amlodipine, a voltage-dependent calcium-channel blocker, prevented hypertension-related damage to functional hyperemia, whereas losartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker, did not. <br></p><p>“From a clinical perspective, these data suggest the need for new drug trials that exploit the greater efficacy of amlodipine relative to losartan in preventing vascular dementia in hypertensive patients,” the researchers said.<br></p><p>Further, the data collected suggest Kir2.1 as a possible therapeutic target in vascular dementia and indicate treatments may help to protect against late-life cognitive decline in patients with hypertension.<br></p><p>The study is supported by a number of organizations, including the American Heart Association, the Totman Medical Research Trust, and the British Heart Foundation.</p>2021-09-20T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0220_News4.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />CaregivingAmy Mendoza​Treatments may help protect against late-life cognitive decline, researchers suggest.
Long COVID Looms Large, But Objective Test Not Yet Available<p>The United States can expect at least 15 million cases of long COVID resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People with this condition will experience a variety of conditions, including risk of stroke and heart disease, chronic respiratory issues, brain fog, chronic fatigue, and more.</p><p>However, there aren’t currently any accepted objective diagnostic tests or biomarkers for the condition, and it is particularly challenging to diagnose in older adults, who have various chronic conditions with similar symptoms to long COVID.</p><p>“No one knows what the time course of long COVID will be or what proportion of patients will recover or have long-term symptoms. It is a frustratingly perplexing condition,” say authors of a recent article in the <em>New England Journal of Medicine.</em> They call for the development of a “health care framework and strategy based on unified, patient-centric, supportive principles.”</p><p>The authors further urge a coordinated national policy action and response based on five pillars—primary prevention, a well-funded international research agenda, application of lessons learned from experience with other post-infection syndromes, a holistic response to the clinical needs of long COVID patients, and health care providers who believe in research and can provide supportive care to their patients.</p><p>“Addressing this post-infection condition effectively is bound to be an extended and complex endeavor for the health care system and society, as well as for affected patients themselves. But taken together, these five interrelated efforts may go a long way toward mitigating the mounting human toll of long COVID,” say the article authors.</p><p>In long term and post-acute care, it is essential that all team members are trained and engaged to help identify patients with possible long COVID and address their care needs accordingly.</p><p>“Given the myriad symptoms involved with long COVID, it is important to integrate a multidisciplinary approach to care for these patients,” says Hanzla Quraishi, MD, a Chicago-based physiatrist. “This includes assessing and addressing deconditioning, respiratory issues, and long-term neurologic effects. These efforts are crucial to aiding in the recovery of patients suffering from this debilitating condition.”</p><p>For further information on the topic, go to <a href="/Topics/Special-Features/Pages/Long-COVID-An-Emerging-Threat.aspx">Long COVID&#58; An Emerging Threat.</a></p>2021-09-15T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0920_News1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />COVID-19Joanne KaldyResearchers are expecting more than 15 million cases in the United States, within an uncertain timeline.