Neglect and abuse have been plaguing nursing homes in the US for years and with the Coronavirus, the situation has turned into a nightmare. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that about 150 nursing homes were affected but refused to name which ones. Families of residents who are prohibited to see their loved one, as well as emergency responders and nursing home service providers are outraged.
On March 13, the CMS released guidelines to nursing homes on how to handle the actual crisis. Nowhere do the guidelines specify how to inform the families or the public about a possible outbreak.
In New York, several nursing homes are located in New Rochelle which was where the first cluster of Corona virus was detected. Hanna Cohen, director of Community Paramedicine for Empress EMS, the 911 provider for New Rochelle told the Washington Post that they were flooded by Coronavirus related calls from nursing facilities and private residences.
Some nursing homes or nursing home networks such as HCR Manorcare or Genesis are notifying families by phone when an outbreak is detected but they refuse to release the names of the nursing homes that are affected.
According to the Washington Post, some nursing homes such as Golden Living Center didn’t respond to requests for information.
Most of the information available is coming through media and local public health officials.
Keeping families in the dark while they are not able to see their loved one is just wrong from a humane and ethical perspective
It’s is also crucial that first responders and providers be notified if a nursing home has been contaminated so they can take adequate protective measures.
Life Care Center of Kirkland in Seattle was the first nursing home that experienced a major outbreak. While the name of the facility was released by local healthcare officials and relatives and staff were contacted, other visitors and vendors were not aware of the possible infections. Dozens of people were sickened and 35 died. More than 40 firefighters were quarantined and at least one tested positive.
In New Jersey, at St Joseph’s Senior Home in Woodbridge, 24 residents were tested positive and 12 employees were sick at home leaving the nuns unable to care for each resident. All of the 94 residents are now presumed to be sick and have been transfer to another facility.
Read more in the Washington Post
Picture: courtesy of State.gov