Seek change after COVID-19 devastates nursing homes

Austin, Texas — Some of the early outbreaks of COVID-19 occurred in nursing homes in Texas, which are still some of the places most hit by the pandemic.

Approximately 9,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 since April last year, according to state data. That’s about 10% of the state’s estimated 90,000 caregivers. In total, one in five COVID deaths reported in Texas was a nursing home patient.

In light of this, state legislators are pushing for a number of bills aimed at addressing the safety of nursing homes.

“COVID has shed light on many of the nursing home issues we knew,” said Amanda Fredricksen, AARP’s Head of Advocacy. This organization is just one group that works on laws to improve the safety of nursing homes.

Some of the laws will cover visitation rights after families have been unable to see their loved ones for months due to COVID restrictions. Frederiksen says the law can protect families in the event of a future outbreak.

“Families are the eyes and ears of the facility. They are the people who are there often and they know when things go wrong for their loved ones,” she said. “The fact that they had been out of the facility for a long time was a big problem.

Other bills being pushed will allocate federal dollars to staffing and entrust official investigations to make more changes in the future. Another Senate Bill 6 provides businesses and healthcare providers with radical protection against the COVID-19 proceedings. But that’s something AARP doesn’t fully support.

“It’s being created now, so I think it’s giving a pass to a nursing facility with chronic poor performance,” Frederiksen said. “But I hope that by processing the bill offer, we can fix it so that those malicious people don’t get the pass.”

However, there is hope for nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Approximately 47,000 residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus and restrictions are beginning to be relaxed.

“The nursing facility has reopened. It’s really important.”

Seek change after COVID-19 devastates nursing homes

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