Volume 6 | March 2020
LeadingAge Ohio is pleased to share with you our legislative newsletter - The Aging Advocate . This monthly publication is designed to communicate what's going on in the world of aging and give you a peek at LeadingAge Ohio's 400+ members around the state. 

COVID-19 is affecting everyone. Please remember to support frontline healthcare workers during this time as they work to keep everyone safe.
What's Inside?

  • DeWine Administration's COVID-19 response
  • PPE shortages
  • Everyday heroes
  • Jobs@leadingageohio.org
  • Senior isolation
  • And more!
Aging Happenings
DeWine Administration displays strong leadership during COVID-19 crisis
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries and states are struggling with how to react and care for affected individuals while also responding to a major economic downturn. During this unprecedented time, Ohio has been blessed to have an experienced leader in Governor Mike DeWine who is not afraid to make the tough calls necessary to protect Ohioans, especially the most vulnerable among us who are being served in long-term and post-acute care settings.

LeadingAge Ohio will continue to work with the Administration to navigate the complexity of the issues and challenges we are facing together, and make timely and reasonable requests to ensure the safety of our residents, employees, and staff as well as the financial stability of our long-term services and supports system. The challenges here are unprecedented and no one person, Administration, or provider can manage through this crisis alone. It will take all of us - we are truly #InThisTogetherOhio.

Check out the full letter of support from LeadingAge Ohio here. We would also like to thank our leaders in the Ohio House and Senate, who recently came together to unanimously pass a coronavirus relief bill.
PPE shortages rampant in long-term care
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is something many people are learning about for the first time due to the shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. PPE encompasses masks, gloves, gowns and other protective gear that keep both patients and health care professionals safe. For those who care for our most vulnerable citizens, especially during a pandemic, PPE is an absolute necessity.

Despite this need and the critical care provided in long-term care settings, providers around the state are finding it difficult and increasingly expensive to maintain supplies of PPE. Many providers are reporting that they are completely out of certain PPE. Compounding the issue is the fact that hospitals are being given first priority to new shipments of supplies, and in many cases, especially when it concerns masks like the N95, the cost has gone up exponentially.

Long-term care providers are looking for answers and want all clinicians to have access to supplies necessary to treat and contain COVID-19. Larry Gumina is the CEO of Ohio Living, the state's largest not-for-profit provider of life plan communities, and a board member to both LeadingAge Ohio and our national counterpart LeadingAge. A thought leader nationally on all things aging, Larry recently let his feelings be heard on the matter in an op-ed titled "Helping those who care for ‘Greatest Generation’."

Everyday heroes
With COVID-19 putting our healthcare workforce in the spotlight, LeadingAge Ohio wants to take a moment to highlight the workers who care for Ohio's most vulnerable citizens, during a pandemic and every other day. As Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton said in a recent press conference, these are "everyday heroes" .

State Tested Nurse Aides (STNAs) are the frontline caregiver in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The average hourly wage for an STNA is $12.03 per hour - much lower than it should be considering the critical care they provide. Many facilities are understaffed in the position, putting even greater pressure on this workforce.

These everyday heroes should be celebrated now and every day for the work they continue to do in a role which requires compassion and strength in equal quantities. We encourage state and federal authorities to recognize their immense value during the pandemic and in the future.
LeadingAge Ohio connecting displaced workers to jobs in aging
As Ohio workers struggle in the wake coronavirus-related closures, LeadingAge Ohio is offering to serve as a "connector" to jobs in aging services and post-acute care. Jobs@leadingageohio.org is now active to help displaced workers from restaurants, hotels, and other industries who may consider taking on a job with an aging services provider on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There was a workforce crisis in long-term care before COVID-19 became a reality,” said Kathryn Brod, President/CEO of LeadingAge Ohio in a press release last week. “Now, more than ever, we need Ohioans to support our long-term care and post-acute care providers. If you have been displaced from a job because of restaurant closures, hotel cut-backs, any other occupation – I encourage you to reach out and find a new home, even a temporary one, in aging services.”
Senior isolation a problem before crisis, providers getting creative to help residents
As providers have been forced to shut their doors to protect vulnerable Ohioans, the everyday heroes on the frontline of care are doing everything they can to keep residents from feeling isolated.

Social isolation can be as dangerous for older adults as smoking cigarettes, studies have demonstrated. In the era of social distancing and time spent away from loved ones, ensuring elders have opportunities for social connectedness is even more important. Whether it is a digital visit or simply writing a letter, we are encouraging all Ohioans to consider ways in which they can reach out to loved ones in a long-term care setting.

Here are just a few ways Ohio providers are helping to reduce isolation in their residents during restricted visitation:

About LeadingAge Ohio
Founded in 1937, LeadingAge Ohio is a nonprofit trade association that represents over 400 long-term care organizations and hospices, as well as those providing ancillary health care and housing services, in more than 150 Ohio towns and cities. The continuum of care reflected by the member organizations serve an estimated 400,000 elderly Ohioans daily and employ more than 35,000 persons statewide.

Want to meet with LeadingAge Ohio? Share a story? Visit a provider in your community?