Infection Control Problems Persist in Nursing Homes During COVID


The new analysis draws on self-reported data from nursing homes collected by the federal government over four weeks from late August to late September. While some states fared much worse than others, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had one or more nursing homes that reported inadequate PPE supply, staff shortages, staff infections and resident cases. Forty-seven states reported at least one COVID-19 death among residents.

The analysis found that more than 28,000 residents tested positive for COVID-19 during the four-week reporting period, and more than 5,200 residents died, showing that the virus is still raging in nursing homes. More than 84,000 long-term care residents and staff have died since January, and more than 500,000 residents and staff have contracted the disease, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s tally, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the national death toll. Long-term care providers include assisted living, adult day care centers and more, while AARP’s new analysis features just nursing home data.

“This is a nationwide crisis, and no state is doing a good job,” says Bill Sweeney, AARP’s senior vice president of government affairs, adding that the results of AARP’s analysis are “profoundly disappointing.”

“While the pandemic has been unexpected to all of us, basic infection control should have been going on in nursing homes for a long time,” he says. “These are places where people are vulnerable to infection, whether it’s COVID or something else, so for these facilities to still not have basic PPE, even now, with a deadly virus in the air, is outrageous and unacceptable.”

Staff infections nearly match resident infections

For months, providing adequate PPE and developing plans to mitigate staffing shortages have been “core principles” set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for COVID-19 infection control in nursing homes, which generally house older adults with underlying conditions who are at increased risk of infection and severe illness from the disease. PPE stops the transfer of infectious droplets through the air, while adequate staffing ratios mean better care and less person-to-person contact.

Yet in 18 states, more than 30 percent of all nursing homes reported PPE shortages, and in 26 states and the District of Columbia, more than 30 percent of nursing homes are experiencing staff shortages. N95 respirators were the most in-demand PPE item across the country, with 11 percent of all nursing homes reporting shortages. And nursing home aides (certified nursing assistants, nurse aides, medication aides and medication technicians) were the most in-demand staff, with 27 percent of all nursing homes reporting shortages.


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25 Habits That Cause Dental Problems, According to Dentists

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If you’ve ever found yourself phoning it in when it comes to your dental care, you’re not alone. According to the World Dental Federation, 3.9 billion people worldwide suffer from untreated tooth decay. In fact, according to a 2014 study from Delta Dental, 31 percent of adults polled admitted that they didn’t even brush their teeth twice a day. However, it’s not just skipping visits to the dentist and forgetting to floss that could be causing serious damage to your oral health. With the help of experts, we’ve rounded up the seemingly minor mistakes you’re making with your teeth that could lead to major dental problems in the long run. And if you’ve got an appointment coming up, discover 7 Precautions You Must Take Before Going to the Dentist Amid Coronavirus.

young white woman biting nails in kitchen
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That nervous habit of biting your nails is doing more than leaving your hands looking ragged.

This is especially true if your nail breaks off in between your teeth because “the interdental gap is very narrow and stays there,” leaving a potentially permanent space between your teeth, explains dentist Henry Hackney, DMD, of Authority Dental.

If that piece of nail stays stuck between your teeth, “it makes it difficult to remove food residue during cleaning and accelerates the formation of cavities,” says Hackney. And for more behaviors to ditch, start with these 7 Bad Habits Experts Say Are Even Worse in the Age of Coronavirus.

young asian woman picking food out of teeth
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While it may seem perfectly reasonable to try to remove stuck pieces of food with whatever you’ve got handy, doing so with anything other than floss could lead to bigger issues in the long run.

“Patients try to pull out the leftovers of food with various objects that they have at hand. These include hair, plastic cutlery, foils, pieces of material,” says Hackney. Unfortunately, if these folks have preexisting damage to their dental enamel, “particles of these objects stay between the teeth,” causing further degradation. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Think you can grab a bite before you head to the dentist? Think again.

While Hackney says that dentists have the tools necessary to clean your teeth even after you’ve just eaten, “it is nice if you have brushed your teeth before the visit or at least rinsed them. This makes it much faster and easier to see cavities,” he explains.

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While opting for carbonated water instead of sugary drinks may get a thumbs up from your general practitioner, the same can’t be said for your dentist. According to Adam Silevitch, DMD, a partner at Pediatric Dentists NYC, seltzer can cause serious problems for those who drink it regularly. “Even if it’s unflavored, it contains carbonic acid, which can wear away tooth enamel,” says Silevitch. While you may be unwilling to ditch that soda water entirely, drinking more non-carbonated water in addition to the fizzy stuff can help.

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Though a squeeze of lemon might do wonders for your water’s

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