Impact of COVID-19 on Nursing Homes

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the nation, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are struggling to keep residents healthy and protected. The populations of these homes are predominantly the elderly, and thus at the greatest risk for suffering from complications if they contract COVID-19. A majority of the residents have underlying health issues that could be exacerbated by the virus. To help protect residents, facilities have instituted policies aimed at limiting the spread of the virus in their facilities, some of which are discussed below.

Limiting Visitors to the Care Facilities

The federal government instituted a nation-wide restriction on nursing home visits that went into place March 13th. This includes the residents’ friends and family members, as well as any volunteers and non-essential personnel. In lieu of visits, nursing homes are encouraging increased virtual communication between residents and loved ones. The only exception to the no-visitors rule is for when a resident is expected to die soon. For such scenarios, guidelines have been put in place so that visitors will be equipped with personal protective equipment.

Canceling Communal Activities

The federal government also recommended that nursing homes cancel all group gatherings, including recreational activities and communal dining. Most dining rooms in assisted living facilities will remain closed and meals will instead be delivered to patients’ rooms for the foreseeable future.

Additional Measures in Nursing Home Communities

The Center for Disease Control has recommended additional measures to assisted living facilities for protecting them against the virus. These include supplying hand sanitizer in every resident room as well as the common area, ensuring sinks are well stocked with soap and paper towels, having tissues and facemasks available for anyone coughing or showing symptoms, and ensuring disinfectant is available for frequent cleaning of surfaces and equipment. Another measure care facilities have taken is implementing active screening of both residents and staff for fever or any signs of respiratory issues.

 New York had been Severely Affected

The state of New York has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with nursing homes reporting more cases each week. Large congregations of the particularly vulnerable group within assisted living facilities have caused a rapid spread of the virus. The state saw a significant increase in nursing home deaths in recent weeks, with 3,060, or 2.3%, of New York residents in nursing home having died due to the virus.

In New York City, it has been reported that Queens has seen the most nursing home deaths at 193, followed by the Bronx with 158 and then Brooklyn with 136. As for Long Island, 231 nursing home residents have died due to coronavirus.

Staying Safe in Long Island During the Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a prominent issue, it is important to follow guidelines put in place by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in hopes of reducing the spread of the virus. Goldstein & Bashner will continue to update you on any new guidelines or information. Call to learn more.

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