COVID-19 Pandemic Spurs Policy Changes Benefiting Older Adults

Date of Review: July, 2021

Heather M. Young, Winifred Quinn, PhD, FAANP, Andrea Brassard, Claudio Gualtieri, Susan Reinhard. (2020) COVID-19 Pandemic Spurs Policy Changes Benefiting Older Adults. Journal of Gerontological Nursing Vol. 46, No. 6

This article reviews recent federal and state policy changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that affect health care and quality of life for older adults. Specific regulations and guidelines issued at the state and federal level have increased access and provided additional funding for essential services and supports. Many of these changes are temporary and have the potential to improve care beyond the immediate crisis. This period of greater flexibility offers the opportunity to accrue evidence on quality and access to influence sustained change. With the combined increasing demand and diminished supply, it behooves policy makers to make permanent most, if not all, of the temporary policies described. Finally, evidence from states with less restrictive regulations can inform policy makers in those states that lag behind. With the complexity of care and the extent of delivery across state lines, movement toward national standards can only enhance quality and access for older adults. —Ashley Darcy Mahoney, PhD

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