Launch of COVID-19 and Ageing Society dialogues
The World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Longevity, in collaboration with AARP and the National Academy of Medicine, has kicked-off a five-part dialogue series about COVID-19 and ageing societies. Five webinars during June and July will bring together experts from government, academia, civil society, foundations and the private sector to consider key issues faced by older adults, and highlight opportunities for action on ageing and health.
COVID-19 and Ageing Society: Part One
The first webinar, focused on Challenges for Long-Term Care Facilities, was moderated by Sue Peschin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Aging and Research; and Jisella Dolan, Chief Strategy Officer, Home Instead Senior Care. Debra Whitman, Chief Public Policy Officer, AARP, gave the keynote address, and panelists included:
- Kate Tulenko, Chief Executive Officer, Corvus Health
- Zee-A Han, Ageing and Health Unit – Responsible medical officer for Long-term care Division of UHC & Lifecourse/ Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health & Ageing, World Health Organization
- William E. Reichman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Baycrest, Professor of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
- Graeme Prior, Chief Executive Officer, Hall and Prior Residential Health and Aged Care Organization
- Mark Shaver, Senior Vice President, Business Strategy & Health Systems Initiatives, Welltower
- Karla Cristina Giacomin, Research member Center for Studies in Public Health and Ageing – NESPE (FIOCRUZ) and focal point of International Longevity Centre - Brazil
Key takeaways from this first webinar included:
- Need for a stable, well-trained and adequately compensated workforce. This has been demonstrated in facilities in Canada and Australia where focus has been on improving career pathways, advancement opportunities, comparable pay, and other benefits to carers in long-term care facilities.
- Safety of long-term care workforce and residents is paramount. Facilities must have access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and make it readily available to staff, mandatory testing and basic infection control. Training needs to be put in place to ensure carers have up-to-date knowledge on how to properly wear PPEs and how to reduce infections for themselves and the residents.
- The outbreak has emphasized the role of data. Surveillance systems allows for reporting of new infections, hotspots (facilities impacted), better monitoring, transparency and mechanisms to reduce transmission.
- Behaviour-change communication training to empower residents to develop, promote and sustain change. For example, encouraging residents to prompt healthcare workers to practise hand hygiene, which has been extremely successful in hospital settings.
- Technology to enable virtual care delivery. Facilities with longstanding commitment to virtual care ramped up their systems during the outbreak to enable family interaction, as well as social and recreational programming. This allowed residents to remain connected to their friends and relatives.
- Regulation and inspection do not necessarily equate to better outcomes. There must be a push for a regulatory framework that emphasizes continuous quality improvement as opposed to punishment for lack of compliance.
Check back weekly for updates from the rest of the dialogue series.