Rhode Island nursing homes fall below benchmarks for staff vaccination – AARP

New AARP COVID Dashboard Shows Less Than Half of Rhode Island Nursing Homes Meet Industry Benchmark for Staff Vaccinations – AARP Urges Continued Vigilance to Protect Residents from Virus

The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard incorporates new data on vaccination rates among staff and residents, and finds that just 47.3% of Rhode Island nursing homes meet an industry benchmark of having at least 75% of staff fully vaccinated. 

Nationally, slightly more than half of health care workers in nursing homes were fully vaccinated (56%) and about 78% of residents were fully vaccinated as of the week ending June 20. Here in Rhode Island, 88% of residents have been fully vaccinated and 71% of staff.

At the national level, COVID cases and deaths have dropped significantly from the previous dashboard release. Deaths of nursing home residents in Rhode Island increased from what they were in the previous period, rising from zero to 2 per 100 residents. Resident cases, however, dropped from 0.67 per 100 residents to 0.10 and new staff cases declined from 0.81 to 0.17 per 100 residents.

While rates of cases and deaths have improved from the height of the pandemic, some chronic problems revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic continue. The most recent data shows that 2.8% of Rhode Island nursing homes had an urgent need for PPE in the four-week period ending June 20, after reporting zero shortages previously. Also during this time period, 22.5% of nursing homes reported a shortage of nurses or aides, a decline from 29.2% from the previous reporting period.

AARP RI New State Director, Catherine Taylor concerned about Delta variant in nursing homes

“The general drop in cases and deaths in nursing homes is welcome news,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Catherine Taylor, “But the potential for the highly contagious Delta variant causing more harm to residents and staff is very real. We must do everything we can to keep them safe from the virus, which means encouraging residents and staff in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect themselves, their family and their community.”

AARP recently submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) recommending the federal government commit to working with states, long-term care facilities, and other entities to ensure that facilities can access and administer vaccines on a continuing basis for the foreseeable future. The letter also applauds CMS for publishing data on nursing home vaccinations, and calls on the agency to offer that data in a more user-friendly format. AARP has repeatedly urged transparency and public reporting about the impact of COVID on nursing facilities.

AARP Rhode Island has fought for reforms to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care. Specifically, AARP Rhode Island has worked successfully with state lawmakers/the governor] to:[edit to add bill specifics in your state]

AARP will continue fighting for reforms that make nursing homes safe and provide options for seniors to stay in their homes. Specifically, AARP Rhode Island urges the Governor and state lawmakers to:

·          Enact or make permanent the components of AARP’s five-point plan:

o  Prioritize regular and ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for residents and staff—as well as for inspectors and any visitors.

o Improve transparency focused on daily, public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities; communication with families about discharges and transfers; and accountability for state and federal funding that goes to facilities.

o Ensure access to in-person visitation following federal and state guidelines for safety, and require continued access to virtual visitation for all residents.

o Ensure quality care for residents through adequate staffing, oversight, and access to in-person formal advocates, called long-term care Ombudsmen.

o Reject immunity and hold long-term care facilities accountable when they fail to provide adequate care to residents.  

·          Establish minimum nursing staffing standards.

The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, to identify specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.

The complete Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit

RI Health Care Association

In February of this year RINewsToday asked Scott Fraser, director of the RI Health Care Association, a nonprofit representing Rhode Island nursing homes, about the vaccination rates among nursing home staff. Fraser replied, “In checking with our members (skilled nursing facilities only) we were seeing about 60% uptake of the vaccine during the first round of injections. After the second round, I am hearing of some homes in the 80% and above range for staff. I don’t have numbers for every facility, but Rhode Island has been well above the national average, which was 37.5% for staff after the first round. Overall staff acceptance at our member homes seems very good, but I cannot speak for non-members or assisted living facilities.”

Fraser continued, “I am not aware of any home making vaccinations mandatory, although it is within their authority to do so.”

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