As Pennsylvania reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials announced that its health restrictions will remain in place for nursing homes, personal care homes and other congregate care facilities.
This includes continued restrictions on admissions and readmissions, visitor policies, screening and testing, dining services, infection control and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Officials acknowledge that the restrictions on in-person visitation have been the most difficult on residents and families, but remain necessary.
The state’s restrictions are part of Pennsylvania’s “three pillar” approach to protecting vulnerable seniors from the continued threat of COVID-19, which includes:
- Protecting resident safety through testing, education and resources.
- Preventing and mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks.
- Partnering by state agencies, local health departments and facility operators to address continuing issues.
In addition, the state is supporting its long term care facilities with shipments of PPE as well as offering testing support, although to date, resources have been limited. This soon may change however. Pennsylvania recently passed new legislation that will provide more relief to its long-term care facilities. This legislation allocates $295 million in federal funding to Pennsylvania’s nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living residences. Funds will be administered by designated health systems throughout the state, and will cover testing, PPE, staffing and other needs. While additional details must be determined, a path to recovery for senior living communities appears to be in sight.