CARING FOR WASHINGTON’S OLDER ADULTS IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: INTERVIEWS WITH ORGANIZATION LEADERS ABOUT THE STATE OF SOCIAL AND HEALTHCARE SERVICES
Parsey, Carolyn M
Allard, Scott W
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The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant and costly disruptions to social service and health care systems. Eight in ten deaths from the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. have occurred in people age 65 and older (CDC, 2020). In addition to the mortality risk, the pandemic presents grave health and economic risks by disrupting services to older adults that prevent institutionalization, emergency room visits, and other negative health outcomes. This report examines how the pandemic has affected the operation of social service and healthcare organizations that support Washington’s 1.7 million older adults (60+), including 107,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Drawing on surveys and interviews with 45 senior leaders of social services and health care organizations serving older adults throughout Washington State, this report identifies current challenges confronting service delivery and client care, as well as those that will persist to shape future strategy and planning. Several key findings and themes emerge relevant to policy and practice.
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