With the anticipated peak of the COVID-19 virus expected to occur over the next 10 days, there will be increased media focus on the care being provided by skilled nursing facilities across the Commonwealth. Against incredible odds, our 77,000 dedicated caregivers are taking extraordinary measures to keep residents safe and connected to their loved ones. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mass Senior Care Association has publicly advocated for the resources staff need to protect their residents and now we are redoubling our media efforts to 1) advocate for the PPE, testing, staffing and funding nursing facilities need right now and 2) shine a light on the incredible work staff are undertaking to protect our most vulnerable residents and the personal sacrifices they are making.
We are all in this together and we will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure that our collective voice and our calls for action are heard loudly and clearly with state government, the legislature and the public.
Last night, Mass Senior Care Association President Tara Gregorio released the press statement below which clearly outlines the action items we need the state to undertake right now.
Statement from Tara Gregorio, President of Massachusetts Senior Care Association
April 10, 2020
Today the Command Center reported that thus far 247 nursing and rest home residents have lost their lives as a result of COVID-19. On behalf of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, we extend our deepest and sincerest condolences to the families of those residents and their caregivers. The continuing rise in the number of fatal cases among the 38,000 frail elderly and disabled residents under our care is devastating to our residents, families and staff who are courageously battling the most horrific pandemic in our lifetimes. Together with the Commonwealth and hospital partners, we must redouble our efforts to support and protect our nursing home residents and staff in three very simple, actionable ways:
- Expand routine COVID-19 testing to include both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents and frontline staff;
- We must immediately protect our caregivers and thereby the residents they care for by ensuring that all frontline staff have the necessary personal protective equipment, including masks, gowns, eye shields and gloves; and
- We urgently need emergency funding to immediately pay a “hero” wage to our frontline staff and hire an additional 12,000 workers to join us in fighting to protect our residents against this insidious and devastating virus.
The COVID-19 virus is relentless and we are pleading for the tools we need to win this battle.
Please click on the links below to read news coverage of last night’s statement.
- CommonWealth Magazine
- State House News Service
- The Boston Globe
- The Boston Herald
- MassLive/Springfield Republican
- Fox 25 Boston
Share Your Stories of Caring
Help us shine a positive light on the nursing facility sector during this crisis by sharing stories about your staff and residents, please email Jennifer Chen.
Recent media coverage of nursing facilities fighting the COVID-19 virus:
Patient and nurse at Dartmouth nursing home test positive for coronavirus
April 11, 2020, South Coast Today
Essex Group Management is urging for quicker results with COVID-19 testing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to their vulnerable population. Their message to family of the facility’s residents, “We are doing everything we can to take care of their loved ones as if it was our own mom and dad.” -Frank Romano, President, Essex Group Management
CEO of The Boston Home: ‘What’s going on in the industry, it’s heartbreaking’
April 10, 2020, Boston.com
The Boston Home shares their story of resiliency. “The Boston Home truly is home. It’s warm and loving and the staff are incredible. I’ve been in health care for 30-plus years, and this is a family. We’re going to get through this. And we’ll be stronger on the other end.” -Christine Reilly, CEO, The Boston Home
Watertown man goes to new heights to see his wife of 61 years
April 9, 2020, WCVB
Martisthill Nursing & Rehab Center went to new heights to arrange a special visit for a couple celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary. “He cried tears of joy,” said Chris Avtges, Resident’s Son
Massachusetts nursing homes fighting coronavirus are ‘teetering on the edge of collapse’
April 8, 2020, The Boston Herald
Mass Senior Care is advocating for additional resources for long term care facilities and their dedicated staff working the frontlines of this crisis. “In a lot of ways, we are the front line of this battle. And that’s why the urgency of the personal protective equipment and the staffing and the resources is now. This was already a system in crisis. Add COVID-19 to it and we are a system that is teetering on the edge of collapse.” -Tara M. Gregorio, President, Massachusetts Senior Care Association
Essential personnel flag to honor staff at Quabbin Valley Healthcare
April 7, 2020, WWLP
Quabbin Valley Healthcare has created a flag to honor their staff during the coronavirus outbreak “In a time like this when essential healthcare workers are showing up for work day in and day out to care for patients and residents, it’s imperative these staff members are recognized and appreciated, not only internally, but publicly as well. They are doing hard work, and they do it with compassion.” -Michael Kachadoorian, Assistant Administrator, Quabbin Valley Healthcare
Nursing Home Advocates Call For More Funds, Tests And Protective Equipment
April 5, 2020, WBUR
“The Association is working with the state to try to get more supplies to nursing homes, but in the meantime senior care providers are "burning through their monthly allocations in a week, or 10 days, depending on whether or not they have COVID cases in their buildings." -Tara M. Gregorio, President, Massachusetts Senior Care Association
Elizabeth Seton Residence’s CNA shares her story of courage and how she is helping residents cope with the social isolation and fears during this crisis. “Here, [the residents] count on us, like our families count on us too. As a CNA and a mother, I have to really be careful. I have to make sure home is safe and here is safe too. Some of them are very scared so I sit down and talk to them.” -Edelyne Bontemps, CNA, Elizabeth Seton Residence Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation
Despite Isolation, Nursing Home Residents in Good Spirits
April 1, 2020, Cape Cod Chronicle
Broad Reach at Liberty Commons is helping residents cope with the social isolation and helping to ease family members by keeping them informed. “It's just very limiting for us all. But it's a sacrifice that a few of us have to make. We're very vulnerable, and certainly don't want the virus to get in here. It would be devastating.” John Shearer, Resident