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Stories of Care July 27, 2021<p>​<span><span>To share your stories of care, please email&#160;<a href="mailto&#58;storiesofcare@ahca.org?subject=" title="storiesofcare@ahca.org" target="_blank">storiesofcare@ahca.org</a>. When submitting a story, please include a link to the story either from social media or a news outlet. When posting on social media, remember to tag our Facebook and Twitter handles (@AHCANCAL). ​​​​​</span></span></p>2021-07-27T00:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Stories-of-Care/PublishingImages/7.27.21%20teens.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Stories of CareCountry Singer Writes Song for Mother in Long Term Care | Nursing Home Visited by Therapy Kangaroo | Teen Volunteers Get a Start in Nursing Homes | Most Heartwarming COVID Reunions Captured on Video
AHCA, NCAL Urge HHS to Release Provider Relief Funding to Long Term Care<p></p><p></p><p>The funding nursing homes and assisted living communities have received through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) has been instrumental in helping them survive during the pandemic, according to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).</p><p>Long term care facilities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion that Congress allocated to the PRF, but there are still funds in the PRF that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not distributed to health care providers.&#160;</p><p>In a <a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=aed9b32dc4e34651a74cd7c23e93dbed&amp;_e=Yuw2x1wiyisBQPg-FI_JwUa-qGc-GjT4d2FIdtbO45UArYVd6f97ShRqNNM8mEekeOe-WUNrUIbZBHT99sfeawKqdNzTTZlx5uF91S76RWbdQF5-IjScXkWm1yZsvdoWUwPaoq55DmP70bMwB4LPNYeI5eq2OF-7gRf65VY1tPVLc-6frEjVxOzsiuF9MioIKqS9aoE02w-Rnc8ScbrglwsLGMVguqrxWEA1xgVXVKEfi8yt7kQplBybIOYgstT6qA7sRh-UknQNEHwayyoCAog8u3uk4PXr4YMx1UUc0W6P_iWAyiPw86n8LATxbB1XQQOtwb_Tnf5AP0Q9SntAO_OuvMEx2SVyaH286xR8Q67ZwwZuX4Bu7I0Pj47w-c9mJfbZ1JsTY6m6wMhxXDfkywmlVxUaOo5WCkyr6dL2avTrpHr2YUgbzZ0gSYGC-GKZrt2RJyU2iOfVLucpfDJY1bqSsj2jz-XW8i9OBv3rM5M%3D" target="_blank">statement</a>, AHCA/NCAL President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Parkinson called for remaining funds to be distributed &#160;to long term care providers.</p><p>“Long term care providers are still facing a historic clinical and financial crisis, and they desperately need assistance to address the impact of the pandemic,&quot; Parkinson said in the statement. “We greatly appreciate the Provider Relief Funds that have been distributed thus far, but more is needed as we continue to battle COVID-19.&quot;</p><p>The Provider Relief Fund is meant to be used to support health care providers through the pandemic, Parkinson said, and urged policymakers to distribute the remaining funds to help the residents and staff in long term/post-acute care communities. “Repurposing unused funds is responsible,&quot; he said, “but the remaining Provider Relief Funds should not be considered unused, as they have not been made available in 2021 and are desperately needed.</p><p>“With the Delta variant spreading rampantly throughout the U.S., now is not the time to divert resources away from health care providers in order to pay for other legislative packages,&quot; Parkinson said. “We strongly encourage Congress to look for alternative ways to pay for the infrastructure package and for the administration to swiftly deliver the aid to providers as it was intended.&quot;</p><p>The costs to fight the pandemic have left many nursing homes and assisted living communities struggling to stay afloat. Personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, additional staffing, and other necessities—coupled with chronic Medicaid underfunding and fewer resident admissions—have put long term care providers in a severe financial crisis.</p><p>Only <a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=aed9b32dc4e34651a74cd7c23e93dbed&amp;_e=Yuw2x1wiyisBQPg-FI_JwUa-qGc-GjT4d2FIdtbO45UArYVd6f97ShRqNNM8mEekeOe-WUNrUIbZBHT99sfea3CXrXIqTHoOLDJc4HsRJQAVZ1vTVuuv9AswgMonYrl4tzdzqO4F1irW6ngvJwLMzIHi2bjzSQbz7o6xComkXN4UCwRWgsm0SuYngz92W8adiMpXgyxLhWz-btHE1DMzOlJ-vvnPgd1NnAPcCTVfWWph4BaLJZY2vPy5h1AD8ZNPJ8ok7oMz5xIE5X0EJhV_VKSPRm8gxlCB3xl12wlXO1fqnnOQY206iSSj_Tf0LG-Ia8QmRWohA0pMAzq1AqOZMf5KlKkAs4FFt9O4F7GedZVdNmu3ct-2rqm5HYhgscgva9GjQQcpMZoRWcYGupj2kTO1ZKzsRex90tzIpMo8u54sEbXm3BOgpyZ5coeIf0RgAN1Ms3WO9slyCERWuJQHxw%3D%3D" target="_blank">one-quarter</a> of long term care providers are confident that they will make it through to next year, according to an AHCA/NCAL survey. In fact, nearly 2,000 nursing homes could close permanently over the course of the pandemic without the help of federal assistance, putting thousands of seniors in jeopardy of losing the care they rely on.</p><p>That's why the PRF has been so important, according to providers. The AHCA/NCAL survey <a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=aed9b32dc4e34651a74cd7c23e93dbed&amp;_e=Yuw2x1wiyisBQPg-FI_JwUa-qGc-GjT4d2FIdtbO45UArYVd6f97ShRqNNM8mEekeOe-WUNrUIbZBHT99sfea3CXrXIqTHoOLDJc4HsRJQAVZ1vTVuuv9AswgMonYrl4tzdzqO4F1irW6ngvJwLMzIHi2bjzSQbz7o6xComkXN4UCwRWgsm0SuYngz92W8adiMpXgyxLhWz-btHE1DMzOlJ-vvnPgd1NnAPcCTVfWWoydL0XxvTny9HirPh7OJUSzYbvUa-SwV4NA3bXMpbC1cdld0-WZPoNd3zqk-cB22DszPPIsfiXCn99qbV1r8Kit18I5UGI1GKBmZAgRbwAMWP0Ilq1NWPy8Nal8qFiuO2xMCWrAvqLCvooVeKlM7-J4AT0OP26ES0yFW97XGhwiGlQr4-6_7SpfcZiibOsVj0rdfcYRwdEtLH7Jg8uvnhtVRXjJ8F430xv1D6vmmKoZg%3D%3D" target="_blank">found</a> that 92 percent of nursing homes and 62 percent of assisted living communities said the PRF has been helpful during the pandemic. The initial funding in 2020 has helped to offset pandemic-related costs and has been the difference between many facilities closing or staying open. But as the pandemic persists and economic recovery within the industry remains slow, more help is needed.&#160;</p><p>The fight is not over, AHCA/NCAL says. Vulnerable seniors are still at risk, and long term care providers need sustained support to keep residents and staff safe. HHS must release the remainder of the PRF to long term care providers so the nation's health care heroes can protect themselves and their residents.​​<br><br></p>2021-07-26T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/capitol_blue_skies.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />PolicyJoanne EricksonThe funding nursing homes and assisted living communities have received through the Provider Relief Fund has been instrumental in helping them survive during the pandemic.
AHCA, NCAL Call on Congress to Include LTC in Infrastructure Package<p>The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living is urging Congress to prioritize America’s seniors as it continues to negotiate a bipartisan infrastructure package.</p><p>Lawmakers must allocate support for providers to make capital improvements to nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country to ensure that residents receive the highest quality of care and additional protection against infectious diseases and other emergency events, the association says.</p><p>Too many facilities remain in dire need of upgrades, the group says. Nursing homes would like to evolve and make infrastructure investments, such as improving technology, indoor air quality, and energy backups, but many cannot afford to do so.</p><p>Chronic Medicaid underfunding left the average nursing home barely able to break even—even before the pandemic. Now, the industry is grappling with an economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p>Only <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Only-One-Quarter-Of-Nursing-Homes-Confident-They-Will-Make-It-Through-to-Next-Year.aspx">one-quarter </a>of nursing homes and assisted living communities are confident they will make it through to next year due to the financial strain caused by responding to the crisis, according to a new AHCA/NCAL survey. Facilities are struggling just to make ends meet—they cannot afford to provide much-needed infrastructure improvements without additional help from lawmakers, they report.</p><p>Significant upgrades are needed to ensure long term care residents are protected, connected, and well cared for. Specifically, AHCA/NCAL is advocating that the infrastructure package include funding for long term care to make improvements in&#58;</p><p>•&#160;Indoor Air Quality&#58; Upgrading heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, as well as humidification and air pressure, helps prevent the spread of airborne infectious diseases and reduces respiratory issues, improving the health and comfort of both residents and staff.</p><p>•&#160;Technology&#58; Expanding access to broadband would help rural long term care providers ensure residents stay connected with their loved ones as well as enhance telehealth options.</p><p>•&#160;Emergency Preparedness&#58; In the face of escalating, unpredictable weather events and other natural disasters, long term care facilities need back-up energy solutions to maintain day-to-day operations, such as enhanced generator capacity, additional battery power sources, and solar panels.</p><p>•&#160;Enhanced Sanitization and Monitoring&#58; Long term care facilities could implement more infection control best practices with UVC lighting and wastewater monitoring to catch and address potential risks more efficiently.</p><p>With the proper government support, nursing homes can invest in their workforce, clinical services, and infrastructure to continue to improve residents’ quality of life. AHCA and LeadingAge’s <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx">Care For Our Seniors Act </a>includes immediate and long-term strategies to address Medicaid underfunding for nursing homes, as well as other reforms that will help boost the workforce, modernize physical structures, and enhance infection control procedures. </p><p>The country must learn from this pandemic and other national emergencies, AHCA/NCAL says. Congress must prioritize seniors in the infrastructure package and help provide critical funding so long term care facilities can provide better care and be better prepared.<br></p>2021-07-21T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/senior_man_nurse.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />COVID-19Joanne EricksonOnly one-quarter of nursing and assisted living centers are confident they will make it through to next year.
Survey Supports Key Role of Attending Physicians in Quality Care<p>A recent article in JAMDA details a job analysis of attending physicians in long term/post-acute care that documents the unique and specific role they play in this setting.</p><p>“The pandemic highlighted the importance of engaged physicians to care for our residents, provide comfort measures, and prevent avoidable hospitalizations. This analysis bears out the importance of this involvement,” says Laura Morton, MD, CMD, one of the article’s authors. </p><p>The survey of attending physicians addressed a list of tasks, experience, and medical knowledge needed in their role in long term care. These items, developed and refined by a task force of subject matter experts, were written as statements that described distinct, identifiable, and specific practice-related activities. In all the survey consisted of 260 items.</p><p>The results showed that attending physicians supported statements related to ethical and culturally sensitive conduct, including applying principles of shared decision making, to achieve a patient- and resident-centered approach to care.</p><p>They also ranked highly knowledge relating to maintaining good facility coverage. Top medical care delivery statements related to recognizing, assessing, and treating patients and residents in a timely and nondisruptive manner, and ensuring continuous medical coverage. </p><p>Top-rated medical knowledge tasks centered on utilizing individualized information about comorbidities and risk factors to evaluate symptoms, as well as developing and following plans for additional and regular evaluation and re-evaluation. This includes deprescribing medications whenever possible. In support of these tasks, knowledge of differential diagnosis, deprescribing, pain management, multiple morbidity, and the use of decision-making tools were all highly rated.</p><p>“We hope that facility leaders will use this information to start a dialogue with attending physicians,” says Morton. “Talk about how you can work together to ensure the best possible care for residents.” Some physicians are more experienced than others, she notes, but there are numerous training and educational opportunities for all of them. “It is important to give physicians the tools and resources to succeed in this environment,” she says.</p><p>As new attendings come into facilities with little experience in this setting, it is important to ensure they understand the many unique aspects of long term/post-acute care, Morton says. “This requires training and education, and it will be useful to connect them with experienced practitioners who understand the specific regulatory environment, clinical evidence, and best practices for this space.”</p><p>More than ever, she says, “We understand the need for collaboration with all team members. These relationships will help us moving forward and prepare for future outbreaks. Our attendings are a key part of this.”</p><p>The job analysis was conducted for the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. It is available online <a href="https&#58;//paltc.org/node/9298">here.</a><br></p>2021-07-15T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0120_News4.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />CaregivingJoanne KaldyAs new attendings come into facilities, it is important to ensure they understand the unique aspects of long term/post-acute care.