A recent survey from Premier, Inc. reveals that post-acute facilities will likely see shortages in the near future. The COVID-19 response has limited availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) to many facilities, including post-acute care facilities. Surveying around 2,500 facilities (nursing and assisted living) they found that these facilities have limited PPE as they care for more and more patients. This suggests a second wave of shortages in PPE in those facilities is very likely.

“While senior nursing and assisted living facilities can serve as excellent sites for less critical cases, such moves cannot overlook supply and resourcing demands,” Premier’s survey suggests. An increasing number of patients are foregoing hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is, in part, due to the fear of encountering people working with positive cases or coming in contact with COVID-19 patients themselves. This is a serious concern for patients in post-acute facilities due to the fact they are higher-risk cases if they contract the virus.

Another concern is hospitals not having the capacity to meet the demand the pandemic has caused. In some places, hospitals are beginning to reserve beds for severe cases of COVID-19. This is also a factor in post-acute facilities seeing an increase in the number of patients they care for. Premier Inc. suggests that the next wave of PPE shortages will likely occur at the height of this shift. Many facilities already have.

The survey found that most respondents believe their supply of surgical masks, isolation gowns and face shields will last less than two weeks. 24% of facilities self-report not having N95 masks on hand.  Other supplies they report being short on include alcohol pads, exam gloves, hand sanitizer, soap/detergent, and thermometers. 96% of facilities report implementing PPE conservation strategies. Overall, 70% of the post-acute care facilities surveyed reported that they aren’t prepared to treat the increasing COVID-19 cases as virus continues to spread.

To learn more about acute post-care preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic, read the full report here.