NIC provided a grant to NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) to study the disparate effects of the pandemic on different seniors housing and care settings. The study results have just been released.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the passing of the American Rescue Plan in March. The recovery funds provide $350 billion in emergency funding for eligible state and local governments and provide substantial flexibility for each jurisdiction to meet local needs—including support for households, small businesses, impacted industries, essential workers, and the communities hardest-hit by the crisis.
Over the last month, a series of congressional hearings and confirmations shined a spotlight on the seniors housing and care sector as a whole, as well as a number of areas impacting the industry. The hearings followed a tumultuous year of navigating the COVID-19 public health emergencies and subsequent media scrutiny, and covered a wide range of topics, including staffing necessities, private equity investment, quality metrics, home and community-based services (HCBS) funding, reimbursement pressures, telehealth flexibilities, and dual-eligible care coordination.
Nestled among the many pain points of 2020 were a smattering of bright spots for the seniors housing and care industry. For one, the year ushered in a wave of innovative strategies to combat loneliness in the face of social distancing. Among the top strategies was the use of virtual reality – an area which saw a lot of growth and adoption among operators during the public health emergency. As I delved deeper into researching the topic, I learned that virtual reality – in addition to creating opportunities for socialization and stimulation – has been gaining traction as a staff training tool as well. Embodied Labs’ person-centered caregiver training, for example, provides immersive learning experiences that mimic many of the common conditions and life transitions that impact people as they age. These lab experiences cover vision and hearing loss, Alzheimer’s Disease, end-of-life conversations, cognitive decline, and LGBT and transgender health and aging. In each of these experiences, the trainee becomes the viewer, and assumes a first-person perspective of how older adults experience different aging challenges.