Please join us in congratulating Dr. Nancy Miller, Director and Professor of Public Policy, on receiving a grant from the Maryland Department of Health, Office of Preparedness and Response. Dr. Miller is working on this project with Dr. Deborah Crandell, Public Policy alum (2017).
Assisted Living Facilities in Maryland and
their Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Pilot Study
A growing segment of older adults and adults with disabilities choose to receive housing and long-term services and supports in assisted living facilities. Characteristics of the assisted living setting and its residents place individuals in these settings at increased risk for infectious diseases, most recently COVID-19. Unlike nursing facilities that are regulated at the national level, states regulate assisted living facilities, with variability in staffing, nursing services, and infection control policies. Several authors have recently discussed the unique variability found in assisted living facilities with regard to services, types of residents accepted, size and technological capability, in addition to the variation in staffing and infection control policies. It is important that policy recognize this variability in the capacity of different assisted facilities to effectively respond to COVID-19. Engaging stakeholders that reflect this variability in potential capacity is critical to effective adoption and implementation of policy. This research will use a qualitative research strategy to gain perspectives of assisted facility staff in the state of Maryland regarding their response to COVID-19. These pilot study data can provide information to enhance existing policy for virus mitigation and reopening to improve infectious disease preparedness and mitigation and to assist in resource planning. Additionally, the study results may aid in the development of visitation policies to positively impact residents and optimize their psycho-social health during stressful occurrences which restrict visitation, such as pandemics.