Review: The coronavirus and the risks to the elderly in long-term care
This article discusses how residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities are more susceptible to COVID-19 and thus suppression should focus on testing and infection control at LTC facilities, while also being mindful of a state’s need to inspect LTC facilities more closely due to isolation of residents and increased vulnerability to abuse and neglect of residents due to lack of visitors.
Approximately 2.16 million adults live in long-term care facilities, cared for by 1.24 million staff. The risk of transmission of COVID-19 is especially high in LTC settings where older adults are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of respiratory illness. Due to the risks, LTC care facilities have restricted visitors, which brings risks of isolation and abuse and neglect. The authors suggest the following:
- LTC residences should be priority sites for COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment
- The staff at LTC facilities must have paid sick leave
- Enrollment barriers for Medicaid should be relaxed by the federal government to help LTC staff
- State officials must redouble inspections at LTC facilities
- CMS should consider relaxing certification and licensure requirements for health aides and nursing assistants
- State policymakers should give the green light for trainees at nursing schools to start working.
About the Author: Seema Mohapatra
Seema Mohapatra is an Associate Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow
at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, She teaches Introduction to Health Care Law and Policy, Genetics and the Law, Torts, and Bioethics and the Law. Seema Mohapatra is an expert in the areas of health care law, public health law, bioethics, torts, and international health and family law. Her research interests include the intersection of biosciences and the law, assisted reproduction and surrogacy, international family and health law, health care disparities in the United States, and informed consent. Her work has been published in several journals, including the Wake Forest Law Review, Colorado Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Policy. Professor Mohapatra currently teaches Torts, Introduction to Health Care Law, Bioethics, and Genetics and the Law. She has authored articles and book chapters on topics such as insurance coverage of infertility and assisted reproduction, genetics and health privacy, international surrogacy laws, and equity in healthcare coverage. Professor Mohapatra regularly presents her research nationally and internationally at legal and medical conferences and symposia. Prior to teaching, Professor Mohapatra practiced health law in Chicago at Sidley & Austin and Foley & Lardner. She earned a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law and has a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. She earned a bachelor of arts in Natural Sciences (with a minor in Women's Studies) from Johns Hopkins University.