AHCA Documentary Showcases Challenges and Heroes of COVID-19 Pandemic in Nursing Homes


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Health Care Association (AHCA) today released a new documentary titled, “Closed Doors, Open Hearts: Nursing Homes and COVID-19.” The short film was produced by the Association in 2021 to highlight the many challenges for long term care residents and families, as well as the heroes that fought to keep residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film provides an intimate look at the day-to-day reality of the COVID-19 pandemic in two long term care facilities. Ararat Nursing Facility is a non-profit organization founded in 1949 that operates three residential care and nursing facilities on two campuses in Los Angeles and serves as a cultural center for the Armenian community. The Edgewood Centre is a family-owned, 150-bed senior care and rehab facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with the mission to provide resident-driven care.

These two providers are different in many ways – from geography to the sheer facility size – but they shared many of the same experiences throughout the course of the pandemic. Despite repeated requests for assistance, long term care residents and staff were not made a priority by public health agencies. Like many providers across the country, Ararat and Edgewood faced a shortage of personal protective equipment and inadequate and delayed testing. Yet, facing incredible obstacles, staff continued to care for residents when they were needed most. 

“This documentary does an incredible job of showing what it was truly like in a skilled nursing facility at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA President and CEO. “Residents and their families were physically separated from each other. Residents were isolated and more dependent on staff than ever before. And while facing innumerable obstacles, long term care staff continued to make sacrifices – all to ensure those who needed them were cared for. That is what I call a true hero.” 

“Closed Doors, Open Hearts: Nursing Homes and COVID-19” has a running time of approximately 26 minutes and can be viewed here

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers, and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org.