As the coronavirus surges around the country, workers in nursing homes and assisted living centers are watching cases rise in long-term care facilities with a sense of dread. Many of these workers struggle with grief over the suffering they’ve witnessed.
The Trump administration hailed rapid tests as the way to halt COVID’s spread in nursing homes. A KHN analysis of federal data shows they’re not being used, as questions linger about accuracy and best practices.
Frequently employed by staffing agencies based in other states, nurses and other healthcare professionals can find themselves working through crisis without advocates or adequate safety equipment.
An analysis of location data from 30 million smartphones found that facilities across the country that share the most workers also had the most COVID-19 infections. The “Kevin Bacon of nursing homes” in each state — the one with the most staffers working at other nursing homes — was likely to have the worst outbreaks of coronavirus contagion.
More than eight months into the pandemic, stockpiling of masks and other protective equipment by wealthy hospital systems is straining nursing homes and smaller providers who also need precious protective gear to keep front-line workers safe from COVID-19.
In North Carolina, staffs at nursing homes and assisted living facilities are prohibited by law from helping residents vote. So community members fill the gap, venturing into some of the places hit hardest by the coronavirus.
Voting is a point of pride for many older Americans, and senior living facilities in past years have encouraged the civic act by hosting voting precincts, providing transportation to the polls and bringing in groups to help explain election issues. But fears of the spread of the coronavirus among this vulnerable population make voting more difficult this year.
There’s no question that therapy today in skilled nursing facilities looks vastly different than it did several months ago — and for many years before that. What is yet to be determined is whether these changes can result in positive outcomes for all parties involved: patients, therapists and skilled nursing facilities.
COVID patients have been commingled with uninfected patients in California, Florida, New Jersey, Iowa, Ohio, Maryland, New York and beyond. While officials have penalized nursing homes for such failures, hospitals have seen less scrutiny.
The coronavirus pandemic will spur major changes in the dialysis world, particularly when providing services to patients residing in the epicenters of the pandemic: nursing homes. More than one-third of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths are nursing home residents. There are nearly half a million hemodialysis patients in the United States, and more than 10 percent of these patients spend time at a nursing home at some point during a calendar year. This reflects both the vulnerability of the elderly population to COVID-19 infection and the difficulty in containing infection in these sequestered communities with residents living closely together.