Brain Waves: UAB TBI Model System Newsletter Volume 18 | Number 1 | Page 3

TBI INFORMATION SPOTLIGHT COVID-19 The Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural) is part of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana. We are funded by National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural has been working to share relevant research and information about how the COVID-19 pandemic is, and will continue, to impact people with disabilities. Find a curated list of our COVID-19 posts here: Skilled Nursing Facilities in Rural Communities: Opportunities for partnering on COVID-19 response efforts Nearly one-third of skilled nursing facilities are located in rural counties. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released guidance for COVID-19 prevention and response that rural communities can use to address the needs of institutionalized people with disabilities. Guest blog post by Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural Knowledge Broker. COVID-19: An increased threat to people with disabilities living in rural institutions Because people living in institutional settings are more likely to report disabilities than the general population and these settings are not evenly distributed between urban and rural areas across the U.S., rural people with disabilities have a lot at stake in efforts to address the pandemic and outbreaks in institutional settings. Guest blog post by Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural Knowledge Broker. RTC:Rural research shows higher risks for rural people during COVID-19 Rural people with disabilities face many barriers to accessing health care, particularly Intensive Care Units and hospital beds. Hospital capacity varies greatly, as does the prevalence of people with disabilities. Typically, there are fewer hospital beds and higher rates of disability in rural places than urban ones. Project Director Lillie Greiman discusses some of these barriers in a recent Public News Service article. Recognizing people with disabilities in the COVID-19 pandemic To assess the impact of COVID on people with disabilities and their needs, it’s important to understand the prevalence of disability by the functional limitations of people living with disabilities experience in their communities. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has updated its information resource page, What Do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? The page describes actions that everyone can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, frequently asked questions on several programs for older Americans, guidance on home and community based services and nursing home visitation, guidance for organizations to prepare for an outbreak, and a link to a Spanishlanguage version. ACL will continue to update this page as new guidance on prevention, testing, and treatment is issued. Individuals can also subscribe to ACL Updates for email alerts of new information. All guidelines are posted, but ACL offers some additional things people with disabilities can do to prepare during the COVID-19 outbreak: • Plan what you will do if you or your direct support provider gets sick. Create a contact list of family, friends, neighbors and local service agencies that can provide support in case you or your direct support provider becomes ill or unavailable. • Plan at least two ways of communicating from home and work that can be used rapidly in an emergency (e.g., landline phone, cell phone, textmessaging, email). Write down this information and keep it with you. • Have enough household items and groceries so that you will be comfortable staying home for a few weeks, at least a 30- day supply of over the counter and prescription medicines and any medical equipment or supplies that you might need. Some health plans allow for a 90-day refill on prescription medications. Consider discussing this option with your healthcare provider. Make a photocopy of prescriptions, as this may help in obtaining medications in an emergency situation ACL also provides resources in other important areas. • Learning about COVID-19 • Staying Connected and Engaged • Following your state’s guidance • Resources for organizations that serve older adults and people with disabilities • Protecting civil rights • Protecting Personal Finances • For Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and SSI beneficiaries • Resources for veterans Resources for families • The Family Caregiver Alliance is collecting COVID-19 resources and articles for family caregivers. • The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center is collecting resources on respite in the time of COVID-19. • The Caregiver Action Network has developed a resource, Tips for Family Caregivers and COVID-19. 4