Arizona AARP wants more focus on nursing homes as virus metrics lower

Apr 16, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: May 6, 2021, 7:02 pm

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — COVID-19 deaths and infections are coming down in skilled nursing homes in Arizona, but the state’s chapter of the AARP says an eighth of them have under a week’s supply of personal protective equipment on hand and a fifth of nursing homes are short-staffed.

“The federal government has stepped up and gave them additional resources,” Dana Marie Kennedy, AARP’s state director, said. “We want to make sure that those resources are going directly to those direct-care workers.”

Kennedy wants Gov. Doug Ducey and state legislators to release more nursing home data and provide additional dollars and regulations to help residents.

“Unfortunately, they’re spending more time auditing ballots than they are auditing what’s happened in these long-term care facilities,” Kennedy said, referring to the state Senate that will start its review of Maricopa County’s November election results on Monday.

“We’ve watched the drama that’s played out,” Kennedy said. “Why don’t they put that time and energy into auditing our facilities?”

Kennedy says she’ll continue to push to prioritize regular and ongoing COVID-19 testing and adequate PPE for residents and staff—as well as for inspectors and any visitors.

She also wants to see improved transparency focused on daily, public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities, communication with families about discharges and transfers and accountability for state and federal funding that goes to facilities.

Kennedy is also pushing to ensure access of in-person visitation is following federal and state guidelines for safety and require continued access to virtual visitation for all residents, while also wanting to establish minimum nursing staffing standards and provide supplemental staff wages and benefits during the COVID-19 emergency.

AARP Arizona’s dashboard reports deaths of residents in nursing homes dropped from 82 to 13 in the four weeks leading up to March 21. In that same period, resident infections fell from 444 to 105 and new staff infections declined from 275 to 45.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Firefighting crews are battling the Riverside Fire north of Fountain Hills. (Tonto National Forest ...

Bartlett Lake recreational areas north of Fountain Hills evacuated for Riverside Fire

The recreational areas near Bartlett Lake have been evacuated as firefighters battle the Riverside Fire north of Fountain Hills.

34 minutes ago

A 2-year-old boy died after he was found in a backyard jacuzzi Saturday. (Pixabay photo)...

2-year-old boy found in west Phoenix jacuzzi dies

Detectives are investigating the death of a two-year-old boy who was found in a backyard jacuzzi on Saturday in west Phoenix.

2 hours ago

State's new budget a sore spot for attorney general - Here's why...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona AG ‘extremely disappointed’ with state budget cuts to opioid settlement funds

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes released a statement saying she is "extremely disappointed" with the state's new budget on Saturday.

3 hours ago

Bipartisan state budget of $16 billion passes in Arizona Legislature...

Associated Press

Arizona lawmakers pass bipartisan $16.1 billion budget, fix $1.4 billion deficit

Arizona lawmakers passed a $16.1 billion bipartisan state budget, which Gov. Hobbs negotiated with GOP leaders, on Saturday evening.

6 hours ago

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close (ADOT Photo)...

Bailey Leasure

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close for 2 months

 The southbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Princess Drive and Pima Road in Scottsdale is scheduled to be closed for two months

8 hours ago

Improvements coming to Brooks Crossing Park (City of Chandler Photo)....

Bailey Leasure

New improvements coming to Chandler’s Brooks Crossing Park

Chandler City Council approves a construction agreement that will allow for improvements to Brooks Crossing Park.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Arizona AARP wants more focus on nursing homes as virus metrics lower