Tuesday, 02 June, 2020

Federal government releases guidelines on nursing home visitation

Long-Term Care in the Future May Change Due to COVID-19 Federal government releases guidelines on nursing home visitation
Gustavo Carr | 23 May, 2020, 04:06

He said he heard from dozens of nursing home workers who said they had inadequate personal protective equipment and little training to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

"Nursing homes are the epicenter of this pandemic - residents are at higher risk because of their age, preexisting conditions, and their close proximity - we have to prioritize testing at these facilities", Harder said in a statement."The federal response has been awful".

She added that the decision to bar non-essential visitors from nursing homes was "heartbreaking" as officials realized "how painful this separation would be to residents and those who love them, but we did what was necessary to protect our vulnerable elderly".

This reality is likely behind the initial outbreak at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home near Seattle.

A senior administration official said there was no need for a federal mandate.

The nine-page guidance gives step-by-step details, including the responsibility for each state's health licensing agency to assure the facility is complying with each safety precaution.

In Butler County, most facilities have had five or fewer cases among their residents. Nursing homes also should screen all staff daily and test them weekly. He heard from staff members who were forced to quit because of inadequate testing.

Dr. Charles C. Camosy, who teaches bioethics and moral theology at Fordham University, wrote in The New York Times that the "nursing home horror" revealed by the pandemic should be a wakeup call to address what he calls our "throwaway culture" and ensure that nursing homes in the future are better staffed and monitored.

Seema Verma, head of the federal Medicare and Medicaid agency, said this week that governors should exercise "extreme caution" before allowing nursing homes to reopen to visitors.

Trump tells United States governors to let places of worship reopen ‘right now’
Any governor that has a problem with this can call the president, but will not find understanding, Trump added. "Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential" but not churches , he said.

On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), I'd like to thank all those who work in nursing facilities - doctors, nurses, food preparers, housekeepers, and others - for their unwavering dedication to compassionately caring for the vulnerable residents who are relying on them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once visits resume, family members and others should still wear face coverings and practice social distancing, CMS said. Residents continued to share the dining hall. COVID-19 patients were often discharged from hospitals and returned to their long-term care facilities.

The Health Department still held back some information from Tuesday's release, redacting data from facilities reporting 1 to 4 infections or deaths.

Harder's office said it's unclear how much that would cost.

"We're going to be using nursing homes - what would I call them - an early warning system for what's going on, not only in a nursing home but also for the entire community so that type of reporting will be able to identify asymptomatic spread". "We will be trying to aggregate that data and identify trends across the country".

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of publicly reported data, more than 30,000 people have died in nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities due to COVID-19.

Hirschauer said that the pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate our long-term care facilities to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.

But testing is just one part of how states and nursing homes should be prepared to protect their residents, and not every state has the ability to pay for the tens of thousands of testing kits needed to ensure bi-weekly tests. This includes skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and memory-care homes. "We can not continue down this path or an entire generation will be threatened".

"But with this virus, someone may be fine one day and not the next".