COVID-19 Considerations for Nursing Home, Assisted Living, and Group Home Residents with Disabilities

Case Study Last Reviewed: July 17, 2020

To offer emotional and social support for nursing home and assisted living residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities can set up video conference calls between residents and loved ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance documents on ensuring the safety of patients, residents, and staff amid shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and life-sustaining medical equipment.

The following is a list of key findings and considerations for jurisdictions and communities regarding ongoing COVID-19 pandemic operations across the country. These are best practices for consideration and do not constitute or should not be considered as guidance in any way.

This document contains references and links to non-federal resources and organizations. This information is meant solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be an endorsement of any non-federal entity by FEMA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.

Areas for Improvement

  • Instituting infectious disease prevention protocols is a challenge within nursing homes, assisted living centers, and group homes due to limited access to PPE and life-sustaining medical equipment, such as ventilators, which puts older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers at risk.
    • Mitigating Action: The CDC has developed multiple guidance documents for nursing homes and other assisted living facilities that can be followed to ensure the safety of patients and staff.
  • Residents of nursing homes and similar facilities are isolated from their families and support networks.
    • Mitigating Action: While not accessible to all people with disabilities, technological solutions, such as video conferences and phone calls, can be used to interact with loved ones while in a nursing home.
  • Individuals with disabilities scheduled to transition out of nursing homes or assisted care facilities may face barriers returning home due to limited staff and housing for in-home care. Group homes and day services for people with disabilities face similar challenges, but are not given the same support as programs that provide medical care.
    • Mitigating Action: Find government and local disability programs and services, including healthcare resources, here.

Potential Best Practices

Last updated February 22, 2021