By Judith Graham

Thursday, March 04, 2021 (Kaiser News) – Nearly a year, nursing home and assisted Living The centers have been closed to most visitors. Now, it is time for them to open up and relieve the residents from being crushed SecludedAccording to a growing chorus of long-term care specialists, caregivers, consumer groups and physicians.

This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free.

They are calling on federal health officials to relax the restrictions on visiting long-term care institutions, which have been in place since September. And they want both federal and state officials to grant special status to “essential caregivers” – family members or friends who provide critically important hand care – so they have relatives to serve as needed Is an opportunity

Richard Fornilley, 84, who lives in a nursing home in St. Marys, Georgia, supports a change in policies. She has not seen any family members since last summer, when a granddaughter, her husband and her two children stood outside her window and called her on the phone. ” depression And the feeling of belonging affecting my fellow residents, it is terrible, ”he said. “Our relatives are coming back to see us, it is an absolute necessity for our well-being.”

“At this point, residents are dying more from isolation and neglect than Kovid,” said Jovid Bogan, program and policy specialist at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, citing new data to accelerate Kovid-19 vaccination Citing. Decline in Kovid related deaths. Her organization has launched a petition drive to safely reopen nursing homes and unrestricted access for loved ones to essential caregivers.

Since the end of december, when Vaccination According to an analysis by KFF, Kovid cases have declined 83% among nursing home residents, while there has been a 66% drop in deaths. As of Monday, 4.6 million residents and staff members in nursing homes and other separate facilities had received at least one shot of Pfizer-Bayonet or Moderna. Vaccination, Including more than 2 million who received a second dose.


Vaccines “Everything has changed” and nursing homes are now in the midst of “may be the safest place in your community in terms of Kovid”, said Ruth Katz, senior vice president of public policy at LeadingEdge, an association that has more than 5,000 non -Substitutes represented nursing homes, assisted living centers and senior housing providers.

Last week, LeadingEdge called on federal officials to extend the trip in a letter to top officials of the White House, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an email, the American Health Care Association, which represents more than 14,000 long-term care providers, also urged CMS and CDC to review their travel guidance. The AARP, the lobby of the nation’s most powerful seniors, chuckled with a letter noting “an important need” for the new recommendations.

Medical directors are also weighing in on long-term care facilities, while taking a careful note in resuming communal activities and new guidance about travel in long-term care facilities. With the new Kovid variants and significant numbers of employees and potential visitors still unmodified, “We are recommending a measured, step-wise approach,” Dr. Swati Gaur said, chair of the Transition Advisory Committee for AMDA – Society for Post- acute and long-term care therapy.

Re-opening facilities for family members should be “cautious”, she said, scheduling visits, checking those visitors for symptoms and ideally requiring a negative covariate test before admission; Limiting the number of visitors to a facility at any time; Sending them to designated visitor sites, not residents’ rooms; And require the use of masks and gloves, among other precautions.

No one wants to see Kovid outbreaks in long-term care facilities, Gaur said – the site of about 173,000 Kovid-related deaths, about 35% of the nation’s total.

On March 13, CMS directed the nursing home to be closed almost a year ago. Coronavirus Universal epidemic Quick and the CDC said that no one should leave except relatives visiting the end of life. In September, the new recommendations allowed outdoor visits, so long as precautions such as safety precautions were taken, and indoor visits, for so long a facility for 14 days was Kovid-free and in the surrounding community for Kovid cases. The positivity rate was less than 10%.


Federal recommendations apply to nursing homes. States regulate Assisted Living and other separate care facilities but follow the CDC’s lead. In practice, long-term care facilities vary greatly in how they implement recommended policies.

In addition, federal officials recommended that relatives be able to travel “compassionate care” if emotionally disturbed, The sorrow Loss of friends or family members, losing weight or adjusting poorly to recent loss of family support. But many nursing homes deny these visits, and enforcement needs to be strengthened, AARP observed in its letter.

Melody Taylor Stark said her request for a compassionate care visit with her husband Bill Stark was denied in October, when her heart failure worsened. Bill, who lived at Huntington Drive Health and Rehabilitation in Arcadia, California for five years, was hospitalized after 84 years due to pneumonia. Stark said she was only allowed a 15-minute trip with him on November 17 after returning to Huntington – the last time she saw Bill before his death on November 22. The Huntington Drive administrator did not respond to a request. For comment.

The Essential Carers Alliance, of which Stark is a member, is asking that every long-term care resident be able to nominate one or two essential caregivers who can provide care to their loved ones regularly and to outside facilities , As he had done before the epidemic. As the anniversary of the lockdown approaches, the coalition has organized email blasts and letter-writing campaigns to federal and state officials, traveling lawn sign campaigns in more than a dozen states, and gatherings in several state capitals. Campaign slogan: Isolation killing, too.

The 49-year-old Micko Cook of Ventura, California is one of the co-founders of the group. His father of 77 years, Ron von Roane, has Alzheimer’s disease and lives in a 200-bed nursing home in Albany, New York. Before the epidemic, Cook’s brother used to come almost every day.

“It was considered very bad at home and when my family members went to take care of her, my father’s sheets were soaked. He would not have taken a bath. The bathroom was never clean. But they will take care of it, ”Cook said.


After the lockdown, Von Roane walked more than three months without seeing or talking to family members. In the past year, he had almost stopped communicating, was attacked by a fellow resident and lost almost all of his belongings, which were either misdemeanor or stolen, Cook said. Von Roen has since made two outdoor trips with relatives, and three short trips to family members’ homes at Christmas and January and February.

Mary Daniel, 58, founded another activist group, Caregivers for Compromise, which in July – after getting a part-time job at her husband’s assisted living center in Jacksonville, Florida – was the only way he could see her. 67-year-old Steve Daniel has early Alzheimer’s, and he preceded the epidemic every evening.

After stories about her went viral, Daniel created Facebook groups in every state for caregivers who wanted more access to their loved ones. Now, caregivers are active in isolation campaigns for settlement chapters in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

“We are getting impatient: The quality of life of our loved ones is deteriorating every single day. My husband has been vaccinated and wants to go out and feel the sunlight on his face. It’s time to open up.” And live with whatever time is left with freedom. “Daniel said.” You cannot protect people by all means, as always. “ News from Kaiser Health News

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