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AGS Stresses Importance of Addressing and Understanding COVID-19 in LTC


March 26, 2020

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has released a new editorial that provides information and evidence highlighting the “ABCDs of COVID-19.” In addition, AGS has sent letters to Congress and other leaders calling for increased access to medical supplies, telehealth, and more.

In the editorial, published online March 25, 2020, a team of geriatrics experts provide a range of information, insights, and recommended approaches to COVID-19 in the long-term care setting.  

“The pandemic of coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has global impact unseen since the 1918 worldwide influenza epidemic.  All aspects of life have changed dramatically for now,” the authors wrote. 

“Since the situation is fluid and changing rapidly, readers are encouraged to access the resources cited in this article frequently.”  

Based on the history of COVID-19 so far, Heather D’Adamo, MD, Thomas Yoshikawa, MD, and Joseph G Ouslander, MD, created the “ABCD’s” of this pandemic. The acronym stands for:

  • Awareness;
  • Behaviors;
  • Containment; and
  • Decisions. 

According to AGS, “it is imperative that geriatrics healthcare providers understand the “ABCD’s” of this pandemic: the awareness of potential key clinical differences of COVID-19 in this population; how to quickly initiate appropriate behaviors to clinically manage the infection in LTCFs; and concurrently, begin containment of the COVID-19 to disrupt further spread of the virus, as well as preventive interventions in the LTCF setting.  In addition, healthcare leaders, policymakers and government agencies must make decisions that address more rapid access and results of testing and treatment for COVID-19, as well as the costs, and societal impacts of COVID-19.”  

In addition to the editorial, AGS has also sent letters to Congressional leaders, Vice President Pence, and Deborah Birx, MD, White House coronavirus task force coordinator. In the letters, AGS stressed to these individuals the need for medical supplies, telehealth, expertise in older adult care, and a range of other priorities in response to COVID-19.  

The letters from AGS highlighted critical priorities for older adults, caregivers, and the health professionals who keep them healthy and safe. Some of the priorities included:

  • Improved access to medical supplies and needed medications;
  • Telehealth expansion;
  • Paid leave and support improvements for caregivers;
  • Charitable organization support;
  • Empowerment of other health care professionals; and
  • The need to expand geriatrics experts.  

“This virus affects everyone, regardless of age or any other characteristics,” said AGS CEO Nancy Lundebjerg, MPA, in a press release.  

“By advancing supports that serve the most vulnerable, including older people, we can build better treatment and prevention for all Americans.” 

Julie Gould

References:  

  1. D’Adamo H, Yoshikawa T, Ouslander JG, Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Geriatrics and Long-term Care: The ABCDs of COVID-19 [published online March 25, 2020]. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jgs.16445.
  2. AGS. In covid-19 response to congress & administration, AGS calls for access to medical supplies, telehealth, among other issues [press release]. https://www.americangeriatrics.org/media-center/news/covid-19-response-congress-administration-ags-calls-access-medical-supplies. Accessed March 26, 2020.

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