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Long-Term Care Facilities Ask Lawmakers For Assistance Amid Pandemic

The state's nursing homes and elder care facilities are improving, according to a new study.

Operators of long-term care facilities say their staff members are quitting at a higher rate during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The North Carolina Assisted Living Association is asking state lawmakers for financial assistance for expenses like overtime, hazard pay and more testing to help with retention.  

Marc Maready is the COO of Ridge Care, which has 13 assisted living facilities across the state. He told the state House's Health Care Working Group he disagreed with some statewide restrictions on nursing homes, like a ban on group dining, that have left residents isolated.

“Were we given the option, we certainly would have ended congregate meals and activities in Mecklenburg County or Chatham County,” he said. “But we would have preserved for hundreds of other seniors in other facilities in other counties with much lower statistical incidences really important quality-of-life measures for them.”

Maready said costs have gone up by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Ridge Care has not qualified for federal assistance.

Frances Messer is the president of the North Carolina Assisted Living Association. The group is asking for financial assistance as the state considers when to lift more social distancing measures.

“The funds that we're asking for would help cover the environmental supplies and the cost to redesign visitation areas of common areas,” Messer said. “As we move from residents having been in-room and isolated back out into the community, how are we going to do that?”

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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