More than two-thirds of the nation’s senior living and care facilities are low on the equipment required for coronavirus containment efforts, according to a member survey by Premier Inc.
Fully 87% of respondents said that they are not receiving all the personal protective equipment items they order. Inventories of N95 masks have been particularly difficult to source, with nearly a third (30%) of respondents reporting none on hand, said the health improvement company.
Premiere is advocating that federal officials act quickly on the White House’s recent order to expand domestic production of PPE stateside. It is also encouraging facilities to conserve PPE according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthcare workers have been prompted to save N95 masks for aerosol-generating procedures during the shortages, and use regular face masks at other times. Fully 76% of the surveyed facilities responded that they were following the guidance.
Premier is also warning members to be extremely cautious about turning to non-traditional supply channels. The company provides guidelines for verifying product authenticity, and said that it has helped some members obtain urgently needed supplies through traditional channels, particularly in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the facility or community.
“If we fail to act, these facilities may have no choice but to turn to untrusted sources or the grey market for supplies,” said John P. Sganga, senior VP-Alternate Site Programs.
Survey respondents included 179 non-acute care skilled nursing and assisted living facilities with more than 267,000 beds. They were queried between March 6 and March 15.