Chronic understaffing. Low-wage caregivers. Difficulty containing infections. These are problems that nursing homes face in the best of times but that have proved especially deadly as the coronavirus pandemic has spread like wildfire through long-term care facilities. In response, many states have moved to shield nursing homes -- and in some states assisted living facilities as well -- from lawsuits related to the care they are providing during the pandemic. Long-term care advocates are fiercely opposing the measures.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit nursing homes particularly hard. One-third of all deaths are residents or workers in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, and in 15 states more than half of all COVID-19 deaths have been related to long-term care. In the best of times, nursing homes often have problems with staffing shortages and infection outbreaks, and the pandemic has exacerbated these problems.
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