State lays out nursing home support plan

By Tara Jones -

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. DeWine and Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran laid out a plan in Tuesday’s press conference for nursing homes moving forward through the novel coronavirus.

Nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other congregate environments are being advised to rely on their local hospitals and when needed in larger capacities, their designated healthcare zone in Cleveland, Columbus or Cincinnati.

“The most important component of this is what Ohio has done is very different. The governor has called on hospitals and said, ‘You are the backbone. We need you to do something that hasn’t been called on before,” Corcoran explained. “We’ve got this structure with hospital zones and coordination that is occurring across three different areas of the state.”

Corcoran said these hospitals will be able to provide local facilities with what she’s calling a “toolbelt” including a testing surge, additional PPE and additional staff assistance. This can also include local infection control strike teams to help with preventative and treatment.

This chain will also include designated healthcare isolation centers — homes or hospitals across the state that have the ability to provide extra care dedicated to quarantining individuals.

Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy also announced the Staying Connected Program, which will provide free daily check-ins by phone for those age 60 or older. It will also allow participants to connect with additional resources and information.

“The purpose of the program is to add a bit of comfort to an older adult’s stay,” McElroy said. “This isn’t just for those in nursing homes. We recognize that isolation and the need for connection, while critically important to residents in facilities, is of equal importance to many older adults — by the way, we have 2.8 million, the sixth-largest in the nation — who still need that sense of connection.”

By Tara Jones

Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.

Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.

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