Long-term care providers do everything possible to protect residents

To the editor:

Media stories on COVID-19 have unfairly spread fear among the public that long-term care providers aren’t doing everything possible to protect Ohio’s elderly population. This simply isn’t true.

Long-term care providers protect some of the oldest and most vulnerable members of society. Even in normal years, our industry goes above and beyond in caring for Ohioans.

Our industry is fully transparent. We work with the Ohio Department of Health and others to provide info about current cases as well as efforts we are taking to mitigate the spread. We proactively provide this information to our residents, patients, family members, and employees.

We are also clean and thorough. Facilities across the state follow numerous regulations from the federal, state and local levels to ensure we’re making decisions inline with the latest from health and disease experts. Many facilities began taking action even before government mandates and have added safety measures above and beyond what’s required.

Lastly, we are caring. COVID-19 has upended the support system for many older adults. Long-term care organizations across the state quickly instituted new programs like video conference calls and outside visits for seniors to connect with friends and family are now working to open visitation safely in alignment with government regulations.

Even with all the numerous precautions, trainings, and regulations we follow, there will sadly continue to be COVID-19 cases in long-term care communities that care for some of Ohio’s most vulnerable, just like there are in the general public. However, for many older adults, care in a nursing or assisted living community remains the safest option, especially during a pandemic. Media reports that suggest the opposite aren’t providing the full picture.

Larry Gumina

President of Ohio Living