COVID-19 test bottle marked 'positive' next to sealed nasal swab

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is urging eldercare facility operators and health officials to jointly address the clinical complexities of facility-wide COVID-19 testing before implementing state testing mandates. 

In a policy statement issued Monday, the group outlined key questions for consideration, including:

  • What is meant by universal testing and how frequently is retesting to be done?
  • Should healthcare personnel, residents, or both be tested?
  • What type(s) of test(s) should be used?
  • How are facilities to cover the costs of testing?
  • Are healthcare personnel tests to be covered by private insurance or with public support?
  • Is there a plan in place to deal with the test results?
  • What is the emotional impact of repeated testing of residents with dementia, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders or other psychological health conditions?
  • What happens if large numbers of staff must suddenly be furloughed?

“Testing decisions must be individualized to the facility with a clear understanding of the regional prevalence of disease, local testing accessibility and capacity, and well-defined goals of testing,” AMDA stated.

The group laid out an ideal scenario for implementation: “Testing must be readily accessible and completed in a timely manner by those with appropriate training, must have low false negative or false positive rates, impose a low physical or emotional burden on the person being tested, and be appropriately reimbursed,” it concluded.

The full policy statement, including additional questions for consideration, can be found here.