The coronavirus pandemic has exposed many uncomfortable truths about serving seniors.
The worst isn’t that long-term care providers are prioritized way behind hospitals in funding and all around perception. No, the most brutal truth is that ageism is thoroughly soaked into the collective U.S. mind.
Around the country, nursing homes trying to protect their residents from the coronavirus eagerly await boxes of masks, eyewear and gowns promised by the federal government. But all too often the packages deliver disappointment — if they arrive at all.
Nursing homes are massively underfunded yet tasked with providing care to more than 1.6 million mostly older, incredibly sick, usually post-acute care patients each year. Are they getting fair treatment in the media?
Dedicated space for cohorting residents with COVID-19
Criteria for relaxing certain restrictions and mitigating the risk of resurgence
Visitation and service considerations
Restoration of survey activities
The guidance encourages state leaders to collaborate with the state survey agency and local health departments to decide how these criteria should be implemented. Given the critical importance in limiting COVID-19 exposure in nursing homes, CMS recommends that decisions on relaxing restrictions be made with careful review of the following facility-level, community, and state factors:
Baseline test of all residents, weekly testing of all staff, practicing social distancing, and universal source control for residents and visitors (e.g., face coverings)
Status of COVID-19 cases in the local community
Status of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes
Access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
CMS released a new toolkit [cl.exct.net] intended to serve as a catalog of resources dedicated to addressing the specific challenges facing nursing homes as they combat COVID-19.
CMS says the toolkit provides resources and direction for quality improvement assistance and can help in the creation and implementation of strategies and interventions intended to manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within nursing homes. The toolkit outlines best practices for a variety of subjects ranging from infection control to workforce and staffing. It also provides contact information for organizations who stand ready to assist with the unique challenges posed by caring for individuals in long-term care settings.
Established by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in 1967, National Skilled Nursing Care Week® (NSNCW) recognizes the essential role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America’s frail, elderly, and disabled.
This year, while it is more important than ever to celebrate NSNCW and recognize the staff and residents in our skilled nursing care centers across the nation, it is a challenge to figure out how best to do so. Current social distancing rules and the inability of friends and family to enter the buildings has changed much of the day to day life of the staff and the residents, and no one knows how long this is going to continue. One thing is certain, though, and that is that staff are playing a critical role in caring for residents and saving lives, and that deserves to be honored and celebrated.
NSNCW is also a time to recognize your residents, their special relationships with staff, and the family members that all make up your unique and wonderful communities. Keeping your community connected through the use of technology and social media is a great way to prevent social isolation and lift everyone’s spirits.
AHCA encourages you to explore the following resources for ideas and suggestions on how you might celebrate despite the limitations of social distancing. Check out our Suggested Activities for ideas and suggestions on ways you can celebrate NSNCW and the bookstore for special NSNCW products. You can also view, upload, and share messages of support at CareNotCOVID.com, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter using #NSNCW and #CareNotCOVID to share activity ideas, videos, and messages.
Care providers can take action to make hospital and emergency room transfers safer for residents during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a group of eldercare experts.
These experts have published a comprehensive guideline on safe and effective transitions that includes the following checklist points (summarized):
Medically stable patients who are appropriately isolated should not be transferred to the emergency department. Multidisciplinary teamwork can support providing care in place.
Address advance care planning with every patient and family in the context of COVID-19.
Carefully weigh the risks and benefits of transferring residents with a febrile respiratory illness to an emergency department. This includes an evaluation of the patient’s current state of health, patient-centered goals, and an assessment of prognosis in the context of COVID-19 illness.
Consider “forward triage” when considering patients for care transitions. This involves assessing the resident’s level of acuity. This should involve a conversation with the receiving emergency department physician.
Warm hand-offs are critical. Nursing home and emergency department providers need to communicate prior to a transfer and as medical decisions are being made, including the ability of the nursing home to safely accept a returning resident.
People are living longer and populations are aging worldwide. The demand for professionals with expertise in aging is growing rapidly. Careers in Aging Week (CIAW) is observed every year by businesses, clinics, coalitions, organizations, universities, colleges, and other parties across the world. The goal of CIAW is to bring greater awareness and visibility to the wide-ranging career opportunities in the field of aging.
This video demonstrates potential approaches for donning and doffing of an N95 filtering facepiece respirator in a Limited Reuse situation. This video was developed based on the CDC guidelines for NIOSH approved N95 respirators.
Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center have led the world in treatment, training and quarantine methods for highly infectious diseases since caring for patients during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Discover their most recent COVID-19 resources at https://www.nebraskamed.com/for-providers/covid19