6 questions you should be asking if you have a loved one in a nursing home

Posted at 2:04 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 17:34:52-04

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may be feeling a little helpless right now.

1.3 million people live in nursing facilities in the U.S., and they’re especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.

More than 10,000 of them have died from COVID-19.

Elaine Ryan, VP of State Advocacy for AARP, says there are six questions you should be asking if you have a family member in a nursing home:

Has anyone at the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19?
This includes residents as well as staff or other vendors who may have been in the nursing home.

What is the nursing home doing to prevent infections?
How are nursing home staff being screened for COVID-19? What precautions are in place for residents who are not in private rooms?

Does nursing home staff have personal protective equipment?
If not, what is the plan to obtain personal protective equipment?

What is the nursing home doing to help residents stay connected with their families or other loved ones?
Will the nursing home set up a regular schedule for you to speak with your loved one by phone or video call?

What is the plan for the nursing home to communicate important information to both residents and families on a regular basis?
Will the nursing home be contacting you by phone or email, and when?

Is the nursing home currently at full staffing levels for nurses, aides, and other workers?
What is the plan to make sure the needs of nursing home residents are met if the nursing home has staffing shortages?

"If those nursing home facilities are not answering your questions, don’t stop there," Ryan told News 3. "Every state has a long-term care ombudsmen. You can go to to be able to find the contact information for those ombudsmen. It’s their job to advocate for you and to help you get those questions answered, so don’t stop. Go to the next step to take action."

Ryan says AARP is also trying to do what it can by advocating for these facilities at the federal and state level.

“We know they’re understaffed. We know they’re not prioritized in terms of getting protective equipment. We know that they may not have the resources to help with computers or iPads to be able to facilitate that type of communication," said Ryan.

Ryan says AARP is calling on Congress to provide assistance to make sure people are protected

You can find more information and resources by visiting AARP's website. They have a page dedicated to updating people on information concerning coronavirus.

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