Protecting Your Loved Ones in Nursing Homes against Covid-19

We are all looking forward to the day when we can freely socialize with loved ones and friends, go to the movies, and visit malls and theme parks. Until then, you must protect your loved ones against Covid-19, especially if they live in nursing homes.
Reopening the State?

Last week, Governor Newsom released a four-stage plan to reopen parts of the state after many weeks of lockdown. But even he admitted there is no timetable for carrying this out. He was frustrated by weekend hordes at Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, which violated his Shelter-in-Place order. In response to the overcrowding, he decided to close the Orange County beaches completely to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

States like Georgia and South Carolina have started reopening, which has alarmed some state and federal health officials.

  • The number of cases and deaths in the country continue to increase. Health officials fear that such premature re-openings may cause the virus to surge, especially in nursing homes.
  • As we mentioned in our last post, nursing home residents represent over 8% of the total coronavirus cases and over a third of the fatalities. Just last week, almost 70 residents died from Covid-19 at a Massachusetts home for aging veterans. This ranks as the deadliest-known outbreak at a US long-term care facility.

How to Protect Your Loved Ones in Nursing Homes

When or how California reopens does not affect how you protect your loved ones in nursing homes. Here are some guidelines.

  • Do not visit. Senior living and other residential facilities are locked down with access allowed only to staff, medical professionals, and vendors. Visitors may enter only during “compassionate care situations,” such us when a resident is close to death.
  • Keep connected to help improve your loved one’s well-being. Look for ways to visit virtually, such as through smartphones or tablets. Many seniors do not have access to or are not comfortable with such technology. In that case, find out from the nursing home how you can stay in touch, perhaps through phone calls, letter-writing, or hand-drawn cards from the kids.
  • Find out what your loved ones know about Covid-19 and be prepared to answer any of questions they have. Tell them to avoid trying out any cures that they may have heard about, which may range from dangerous, such as disinfectant, to unproven, such as chloroquine. Emphasize that no cures exist yet for the virus and only their doctor has the knowledge and experience to prescribe treatment.
  • Ask the nursing home what procedures are in place for dealing with Covid-19. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requires a nursing home to inform residents and their families within 12 hours if it develops a Covid-19 case.

Despite all precautions, your loved one may still contract the virus at the nursing home. If that happens, please contact us right away to determine the liability of the facility.

Disclaimer: The medical content of this blog is provided for information only and is not intended as medical advice or substitute for the advice of a physician.


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