Arizona Nursing Homes Have Restricted Visitors For Almost A Year. Where Are Things Now?

Published: Monday, February 15, 2021 - 3:08pm
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 8:38am

In less than a month, the country will reach yet another COVID-19 anniversary, the day the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid directed nursing homes to restrict visitors. 

Despite efforts to keep the virus out, long-term care facilities were hit hard by the virus and many residents died — and many more are still at high risk.

From Dec. 21 to Jan. 17, 144 residents in skilled nursing homes died of COVID-19, according to the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. Deaths in assisted living are still unknown since they aren’t publicly reported.

There are bills moving through the state Legislature that could impact residents. 

"Right now, there's actually a civil liability bill that passed five to three last week," said Dana Kennedy, state director for AARP Arizona.

And if signed into law, the bill could make it harder for families to sue nursing homes.

"We're monitoring that bill, we'd like to see long-term care facilities be carved out of that bill," she said. "There's also a bill that would look at the definition of abuse ... [and] there's actually some appropriations to provide more resources for ombudsman."

Ombudsman serve as resident advocates and during the early part of the pandemic, they were unable to enter long-term care facilities. They were once again allowed back inside, along with certain family members in September. 

Vaccinations continue in both skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, with many getting their second dose. 

→ Get The Latest News On COVID-19 In Arizona 

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