Nursing Homes, Assisted Living and COVID-19

More than 43,000 long-term care residents and staff have died from COVID-19, representing over a third of the nation’s known coronavirus deaths.

Over 50% of family members are now more likely to choose in-home care for their loved ones than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey by Transcend Strategy Group.

Why Are Nursing Homes So Vulnerable To COVID-19?

• People age 65 and older are at higher risk from COVID-19.

• People with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and respiratory illness are also at higher risk from COVID-19.

The nation’s 1.3 million nursing home and assisted living residents generally fit both risk groups.

Certain conditions at nursing homes also aid the spread of the disease:

• Frequent close physical contact between residents and staff.

• Understaffing.

• Employees that work in multiple long-term care facilities, increasing chances of spread from one facility to the next.

• Shared resident rooms cause close physical contact.

• The transfers of new residents from hospitals and other settings.

These factors made nursing homes breeding grounds for viral and bacterial diseases prior to the COVID 19 pandemic:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), states that over 4 million Americans are admitted to or reside in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities each year and nearly 1 million persons reside in assisted living facilities. Data on infections in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) is limited, but it is estimated that 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year in these facilities.

These infections include urinary tract infection, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and many others.

Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death with as many as 380,000 people die of these infections in LTCFs every year.

Nursing Home Staff should:

• Wear personal protective equipment, such as face masks and gloves.

• Wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after contact with each resident, after using medical equipment, and after taking off masks, gowns, and/or gloves.

• Place alcohol-based hand sanitizer in all resident-care areas, including inside and outside resident’s rooms.

• Practice cough etiquette/hygiene.

• Stay home when sick.

• Clean residents’ hands after toileting or eating.

• Clean and disinfect medical equipment between each use.

How nursing home residents and their families can reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Wash their hands or use hand sanitizer and remind other residents to do the same.

• Practice social distancing from other residents whenever possible.

• Inform the administration if they observe staff who appear to be sick or are not taking the steps listed above to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

• Request that the administration provides regular updates to residents about what the facility is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and care for any residents who are ill.

• That the administration shares the results of the facility’s self-assessment of their infection control practices.

• Ask facility staff to schedule a regular time for residents to communicate with their family and to assist them if they need help.

If you have concerns about the facility’s infection control practices or other issues:

• You can still use the facility’s grievance process if they have any complaints or concerns.

• Talk to the director of nursing or administrator about your concerns and ask what they will do to address them.

• Contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program for assistance. The Ombudsman program advocates for residents and can help resolve concerns.

• File a complaint with your state survey agency.

About Unique HomeCare Services

Unique HomeCare Services provides private in-home care for elders, those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, and people who are recuperating from illness, injury, or surgery.

We provide both short-term and long-term in-home care needs from as little as one 4 hour day a week to 24 Hour Care and Live-In Care.

We offer a full range of in-home personal care services including Bathing, Personal Hygiene and Grooming, Dressing Assistance, Toileting and Incontinence, Feeding, and Medication Reminders.

We also provide support services such as Case Management, Accompaniment to Appointments, Nutrition and Meal Management, Light Housekeeping and Laundry Services, Bed and Wheel Chair Transfers, and Shopping and Running Errands.

Unique HomeCare Services is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts and serves the surrounding communities.

It is our pleasure to assist our veteran clients with VA Aid and Attendance Benefit approval at no cost.

We have an extensive Directory of Online Senior and Caregiver Resources for the information you need.

To schedule a no cost and no obligation In-Home Assessment to determine the home care needs and get a quote, please call us to speak to a Case Manager at (800) 296-9962 or fill out our Free Quote Contact Form.

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