Statement From LeadingAge Regarding News Reports That FEMA Will Deliver PPE To Nursing Homes in Early May

PRESS RELEASE | April 28, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

Leader of association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes, urges action to avert “slow-motion catastrophe"

Contact: Lisa Sanders
 lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

April 28, 2020 Washington DC – From Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes:

“This is the first sign in months that our calls for personal protective equipment (PPE) prioritization for providers of aging services are being heard.

Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) distribution of PPE to protect nursing home patients, residents and care workers is a welcome but long overdue initial step. Nursing homes and assisted living communities have been on the front line of COVID-19 for months—without the tools they need to face this vicious virus and to protect an entire generation of our most vulnerable Americans.

It is disgraceful that PPE and testing were not prioritized for older adults in the early days of this pandemic, even though it was widely understood from the outset that older adults and caregivers were at the greatest risk. Despite that failure, care workers have shown up every day at risk to their own lives. Some have been forced to wear trash bags and rain ponchos as protection.

The reality is that PPE is only one of the tools older adults and their caregivers need. The only way to avert this slow-motion catastrophe is to provide meaningful levels of PPE, as well as effective and efficient testing and a comprehensive approach to supporting older adults and the workers who care for them.

Without additional action—especially as some states governments are once again failing to consider the needs of older people as they take steps to reopen—millions of vulnerable Americans and those who care for them are threatened.

The only thing that matters now is real comprehensive action—not symbols.”

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org