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Why Ignoring Nursing Home Residents During The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Reckless

Keeping elderly Americans safe from COVID-19 should be a #1 priority during the pandemic, because they’re at the highest risk of contracting the virus and dying from its virulent course. Among these older people, the most vulnerable are the 1.5 million people who live in nursing homes. But this group- who by definition are too sick to care for themselves- have largely been ignored by government and health officials, forcing local healthcare professionals to take matters into their own hands.

Weeks after the first case of coronavirus in the US was diagnosed on January 21st in Washington state, the outbreak in a Kirkland nursing home claimed 35 lives. Since then, residents of nursing homes in New JerseyFlorida, and California have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Everyone is focusing on hospitals, but not nursing home patients,” says Dr. Martin Grossman, a palliative care physician in New York who cares for nursing home residents. “Once we started hearing about the first COVID-19 cases in New York, we called the state to ask if we could suspend visitation, i.e. not allow anyone into our facilities to visit residents. The state said ‘no’ because that would be infringing on patient’s rights. Within a few days, the state got on board and then mandated limiting outside visits. The mortality rate for COVID-19 may be 3-4% overall, but in nursing home patients it’s more likely 20-30%.”

esident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” That means cases of COVID-19 will most certainly rise every day. The American Medical Directors Association strongly opposed this advisory, stating yesterday: “Unsafe transfers will increase the risk of transmission in post-acute and long-term care facilities which will ultimately only serve to increase the return flow back to hospitals, overwhelming capacity, endangering more healthcare personnel, and escalating the death rate.”

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NY Department of Health advisory to nursing homes on 3/25/20 which states: ″No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.″

esident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” That means cases of COVID-19 will most certainly rise every day. The American Medical Directors Association strongly opposed this advisory, stating yesterday: “Unsafe transfers will increase the risk of transmission in post-acute and long-term care facilities which will ultimately only serve to increase the return flow back to hospitals, overwhelming capacity, endangering more healthcare personnel, and escalating the death rate.”

PROMOTEDWorkfront BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramOperational Agility In The Digital Age: A Three-Part FrameworkT-Mobile BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramBeyond The Everyday: 3 Things Every CIO Should Be Thinking About In 2020Everbridge BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramFour Steps Businesses Can Take To Reduce Coronavirus Impact

NY Department of Health advisory to nursing homes on 3/25/20 which states: ″No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.″

Dr. Grossman underscores the same frustrations. “Every day, I’m seeing the shocking lack of preparation from the government, at the federal and state levels. There is a nationwide shortage of swabs for COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, and hospital beds. We’ve given up a lot of our personal freedoms to slow the spread of this disease, but the government hasn’t stepped up to the plate. It’s a colossal failure.”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/miriamknoll/2020/03/27/why-ignoring-nursing-home-residents-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-is-reckless/#2daaa9fe7912

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