Testing is a crucial element in battling the coronavirus pandemic. Because 80% of all COVID-19 deaths are among people age 65+—a death rate at least 90 times higher than for 18-29 year-olds, tests are particularly important for providers of aging services, who are dedicated to ensuring the well-being of those in their care.
LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, surveyed our nonprofit provider members during the first week of November to gauge their experiences with various government-supplied point of care tests. Of the 547 respondents, nursing home members dominated (85% or 446), followed by assisted living (56% or 305), home health care (10.4% or 57) and hospice (9.7% or 40).
“Whether PCR or antigen point-of-care are used, what’s most important is that testing happens and results are returned quickly,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes. “Providers in all care settings need support not only with access to constant supplies of multiple types of tests, but also with the necessary reporting and funding to pay for test supplies, PPE, and staff so that providers and public health officials know the state of infection in communities.”
Key findings are below; click here to access the full survey results.
Providers report using a mix of testing types, including PCR tests with collections taken onsite and sent to an outside lab, and point-of-care antigen tests.
Many (66%) LeadingAge provider members have received Abbott BinaxNOW tests from the government.
While most (63%) providers who have Abbott BinaxNOW tests are using them, over a third of providers who have the tests are not currently using them. Reasons why they are not using the tests include:
- PCR tests are perceived to be more reliable.
- Providers already have PCR testing protocols in place.
- Reporting requirements are too cumbersome.
- Providers have only recently received Abbott tests.
- Other point-of-care testing supplies are being used first.
Most (89%) LeadingAge provider members have accessed training on using tests, including training sessions, online videos and webinars, and written manufacturer instructions.