Analysis: Pandemic Revealed How Broken Nursing Homes Are, But Communities Must Do “Much More” To Provide Alternatives.
The New York Times (4/1) reports the COVID-19 “pandemic has intensified a spotlight on long-running questions about how communities can do a better job supporting seniors who need care but want to live outside a nursing home.” The article says, “The coronavirus had taken the lives of 181,000 people in U.S. nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities through last weekend, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation – 33 percent of the national toll.” The piece adds that “as the aging of the nation accelerates, most communities need to do much more to become age-friendly, said Jennifer Molinsky, senior research associate at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.”
COVID-19 Has Decreased The Demand For Senior Care Facilities, Data Show.
The New York Times (4/1) reports, “The occupancy rate in nursing homes in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 75 percent, down 11 percentage points from the first quarter, according to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, a research group.” The decrease in “demand was tied to COVID-19, deaths from the virus and a steep decline in elective surgery that requires follow-up care in a skilled nursing facility, according to the group’s research.”
CIDRAP (April 1)
Risk factors for COVID-19 infection in US nursing homes were related to county and facility rather than resident characteristics, while risk of hospitalization and death was linked to both facility and resident factors in a nationwide study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston studied coronavirus infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among 482,323 residents at 15,038 nursing homes from Apr 1 to Sep 30, 2020. The virus infected 28.4% of residents, of whom 21.3% were hospitalized, and 19.2% died within 30 days.
Stateline (April 1)
As of March 18, 1.86 million staff members at long-term care facilities nationwide had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC data, shared with Stateline. The numbers were reported by pharmacies that partnered with the agency to administer vaccines through the national Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.
Tampa Bay Times (April 1)
In early January, the marketing team of The Glenview at Pelican Bay went into residents’ rooms to film an emotional video. Residents of the retirement community, wearing “Glenview Strong” T-shirts, shared words of encouragement in hopes of easing vaccine apprehension among the staff members. “Please everybody, take the two COVID shots,” said Jim Payne.
New York Governor, Legislators Consider Forcing Nursing Homes To Spend On Patients.
The Wall Street Journal (3/31, Vielkind, Ramey, Subscription Publication) reports New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and state legislators are close to agreeing on legislation that would demand nursing homes allocate a portion of their earnings to patient care.
Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Nursing Home Program Inoculated About Half Of US’ Long-Term-Care Employees, Data Show.
NPR (3/31, Whyte, ) reports “the federal program responsible for bringing” COVID-19 “vaccines to the vast majority of nursing homes and similar settings inoculated roughly half of long-term-care workers in the nation, and in some states a much slimmer percentage, as of March 15, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided to the Center for Public Integrity.” In seven states and “the District of Columbia, the program vaccinated less than a third of staff members.” However, the “program is winding down in the coming days.” The Indian Health Service, CMS, and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci are mentioned.
Nursing Homes Begin To Reopen To Visitors, Revealing Consequences Of Isolation.
The New York Times (3/31, Mervosh) reports nursing homes across the US “have begun to welcome visitors again after a year of excruciating lockdowns,” revealing “new consequences of a pandemic that has killed more than 179,000 residents and employees of long-term care facilities and left many others withering in isolation.” Some reunions are “tinged with grief, others with reminders of all that has changed.”
COVID-19 Cases Fell 96% In Nursing Homes From Late December To Early March, Study Shows.
Forbes (3/30, Reimann) reports COVID-19 “cases dropped a whopping 96% in nursing homes between late December and early March, with deaths also falling over 90%, according to a study released Monday, showing what a trade group calls a massive impact made by vaccinations.” The study by “the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living credited ‘initial vaccine allocations’ prioritized for nursing home patients and staff for drastically reducing Covid’s impact.”
Arizona Senate Votes To Shield Businesses, Nursing Homes, Others From COVID-19-Related Lawsuits.
The AP (3/30) reports that on Tuesday, the Arizona Senate voted “to give businesses, nursing homes and others a broad shield from lawsuits related to COVID-19.” Under the protection, plaintiffs would have to prove “willful misconduct” or “gross negligence” by clear and convincing evidence instead of the lower standard of preponderance of the evidence.
Modern Healthcare (March 30)
New York legislation nixing broad legal protections for healthcare providers during the pandemic stands ready to become law after receiving the approval of veto-proof majorities in the Assembly and state Senate. The vote drew the condemnation of healthcare and nursing home industry representatives, who called the move premature. "What if the variants do something unexpected? What happens if something goes awry in the near future?" asked Southern New York Association President Neil Heyman, whose group represents long-term-care facilities in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. "I think people should still be protected until we reach herd immunity and this thing is gone."