New York State’s Older Adults in Assisted Living Facilities Need All of Us to Help Them Avoid the Coronavirus

Mary E. Helander and Claire Pendergrast
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There are 50,308 beds in licensed assisted living facilities1 and 114,988 certified nursing home beds (with 90% average occupancy) in New York State.2  Yet, assisted living facilities receive disproportionately less media coverage and policy attention than nursing homes with respect to coronavirus risks and consequences for older adults. Recent deaths in a Florida assisted living facility demonstrate that we need to be paying much more attention to coronavirus risks in these facilities.3 

The interactive map shown below and the static map in Figure 1 show the locations for all 547 licensed assisted living facilities in New York State and the population demographics nearby them.  Preventing the spread of coronavirus in the communities in proximity to these facilities should be paramount.

Many states including New York recently issued restrictions on visitors to nursing homes to reduce risk of coronavirus exposure.4 In New York, licensed assisted living and adult care facilities are also required to adhere to strict protective measures, including visitor restrictions, to prevent coronavirus exposure.5

Figure 1: New York State Assisted Living and Adult Care Facilities, 2020
Map: Mary E. Helander; Data Sources: US Census Bureau8,9, and the New York State Department of Health Adult Care Facility Directory1.

Older adults in communal living environments such as assisted living facilities are especially vulnerable to coronavirus because infection can spread easily in these settings.6,7  To protect vulnerable individuals in these environments, ensuring that individuals, institutions, and policymakers take steps to prevent direct and indirect exposures for residents is of extreme importance. 

Let’s all work together to keep our older adults healthy and safe. 

Figure 2: New York State Assisted Living and Adult Care Facilities, 2020
Map: Mary E. Helander; Data Sources: US Census Bureau8,9, and the New York State Department of Health Adult Care Facility Directory1.

References

  1. New York State.  (2020).  Department of Health, Adult Care Facility Directory.  Retrieved March 22, 2020 from:  https://health.data.ny.gov/Health/Adult-Care-Facility-Directory/wssx-idhx
  2. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  (2020).  Nursing Home Compare datasets, Feb 24, 2020.  Retrieved March 23, 2020 from:  https://data.medicare.gov/data/nursing-home-compare
  3. NBC Miami. (March 21, 2020). Gov. Confirms Third Coronavirus Death at Fort Lauderdale Assisted Living Facility. Retrieved March 23, 2020 from https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/gov-confirms-third-coronavirus-death-at-fort-lauderdale-assisted-living-facility/2209104/
  4. New York State. (2020). Executive Orders from the Office of the Governor.  Retrieved March 23, 2020 from  https://www.governor.ny.gov/executiveorders
  5. New York Department of Health. (March 13, 2020). Health Advisory: COVID-19 Cases in Nursing Homes and Adult Care Facilities.
  6. CDC. (2020). “Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 69.
  7. CDC. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019: Long-term Care Facility, Nursing Homes. Retrieved March 23, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/prevent-spread-in-long-term-care-facilities.html
  8. U.S. Census.  (2020).  (Population, Density, Age, Median Age, Households) for New York State County Subdivisions, (2018, American Community Survey). In SocialExplorer.com. Retrieved March 22, 2020 from: https://www.socialexplorer.com/tables/ACS2018_5yr/R12498310
  9. U.S. Census.  (2020).  (Population, Density, Age, Median Age, Households) for New York State metropolitan statistical areas, (2018, American Community Survey). In SocialExplorer.com. Retrieved March 23, 2020 from: https://www.socialexplorer.com/tables/ACS2018_5yr/R12498769

Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank SU Maxwell PhD student Chad Chambers; Professor Shannon Monnat; and the Lerner Center staff.

About the Authors
Mary Helander (meheland@syr.edu) is a PhD student in the Department of Social Sciences in the Maxwell School and an MPH student in Falk College at Syracuse University.  Both authors are graduate research affiliates of the Lerner Center and the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University. Claire Pendergrast (cpenderg@syr.edu) is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

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