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6 Questions to Ask if a Loved One is in a Nursing Home

If you have a spouse, sibling, parent, or other loved one in a nursing home, you may be worried about their safety and well-being because of the coronavirus pandemic. AARP has consulted with leading nursing home experts to provide you with some key questions to ask the nursing home:

Has anyone in 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?

Find out how the nursing home staff is being screened for COVID-19, especially when they leave and re-enter the home and what precautions are in place for residents who are not in private rooms.

Does the nursing home staff have personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, face shields, gowns and gloves that they need to stay safe, and keep their patients safe?

Find out if the nursing home staff has given specific training on how to use this personal protective equipment. If not, ask what the plan is to obtain personal protective equipment.

What is the nursing home doing to help residents stay connected with their families or other loved ones during this time? 

Does the nursing home help residents call their loved ones by phone or video call? Will the nursing home set up a regular schedule for you to speak with your loved one?

What is the plan for the nursing home to communicate important information to both residents and families on a regular basis?

Ask for established guidelines for how the nursing home will be contacting you, rather it be by phone or email, and the frequency of when they will be contacting you.

Is the nursing home currently at full staffing levels for nurses, aides, and other workers?

Does it have a plan to make sure the needs of nursing home residents are met—like bathing, feeding, medication management, social engagement—if the nursing home has staffing shortages?

If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a spouse, parent, or other loved one who lives in a nursing home, contact the Vermont Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at 800-889-2047 or  Vtlawhelp.org/coronavirus-long-term-care. Resources from AARP are also available online at Aarp.org/coronavirus

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