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Long-Term Care

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The messaging from the White House coronavirus press briefings is becoming more confusing as President Donald Trump and his science advisers appear to not see eye to eye. Meanwhile, Congress is ready to approve more money to address both the health and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the virus is taking an almost unimaginable toll on the nation’s nursing homes and putting strain on patients and health care providers with non-COVID ailments. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more.

Family caregivers are the backbone of our nation’s system of long-term care for older adults. Every year, more than 34 million unpaid caregivers — mostly family members — provide essential aid to adults age 50 and older, helping with tasks such as bathing or dressing and, increasingly, performing complex medical tasks such as managing medications, dressing wounds and operating medical equipment.

Facing billions of dollars in legal claims for the role its equipment has played in a spate of deadly wildfires, California utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric plans to step up efforts to cut power to broad regions of the state during high-risk weather conditions. The potential for prolonged blackouts has prompted disaster preparations by hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers.