DLC Releases report on Utah’s Long-term Facilities and COVID-19

Press Statement
For Immediate Release

Posted: February 23, 2022

Re: DLC Releases report on Utah’s Long-term Facilities and COVID-19

Today we are releasing a report, The Dangers of Institutional Living: COVID-19 in Utah’s Long-term Care Facilities, that examines the conditions of residents in Utah’s long-term care facilities during the COVlD-19 pandemic. The report, which was years-long in the making, provides insight into the pre-existing dangers of institutional living, Utah’s initial C0\11D response, and the state’s failures in preparing for and responding to the pandemic’s prevalence in long-term care facilities. Additionally, the report takes a look at the funding available to facilities throughout the pandemic and provides an important analysis of the COVlD-19 deaths and cases data for facilities across the state.

“With the emergence of COVID-19, the State’s lopsided funding for institutional and home and community-based services has proven to have fatal consequences for Utahns in need of long-term care. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities represent an outsized share of Utah’s overall COVID-19 deaths, accounting for 22% of all COVID deaths even though residents in these facilities represent less than 1% of our state’s population.”

The rate of disease spread in these facilities is unacceptable, and Utah must do better. In reviewing timelines, data, and public government responses, we close the report by making recommendations to improve the safety of institutionalized individuals. These recommendations include, increased access to home and community-based care instead of crowded, institutional settings; increased oversight of long-term care facilities from the state agency responsible; and, in long-term care facilities, increased staff, staffing requirements, oversight, access to vaccines and testing for both residents and staff, are essential.

Utah must take action to address these imbalances and work to prevent harms like this from ever occurring again. We urge State Officials to do better, and we encourage you to join this call.

Nate Crippes
(801) 910-5815
ncrippes@disabilitylawcenter.org