Lessons for Long-Term Care from COVID-19 Preparations

By Dan Hounsell
April 20, 2021

Long-term care facilities went through an array of changes in the last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, testing nearly every plan and relationship in place pre-pandemic. One year later, it seems like a good time to look back at facilities’ plans — such as relationships with local health departments — to identify weak spots in anticipation of the next emergency.

According to GeriPal, a survey of pre-pandemic preparations among long-term care facilities offer lessons managers can use to prepare more successfully for the next pandemic. Among the issues:

• Infection preventionist staffing levels were low.

• More than one-half of residential care facilities lacked a pandemic influenza plan.

• Most nursing homes had inadequate evacuation plans.

• Nursing homes developed their disaster plans “with little input from or coordination with public health or emergency management officials.”

• Disaster preparedness for long-term care facilities received little research attention in spite of the dangers faced by these vulnerable populations.

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Topic Area: Infection Control


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