October 5, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

More Visitors Needed to Stem COVID in Nursing Homes

More than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, no one has done much to stop the near-constant toll the coronavirus has taken among those most vulnerable to it: people living in nursing homes.

It’s well known by now that almost three-fourths of all fatalities from this virus come in the 65-and-up age group, and virtually everyone involved in trying to bring the plague to heel calls continuously for protecting those most prone to infection.

That includes California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the newest addition to President Trump’s coronavirus task force, Scott Atlas – a scholar at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution think tank, a physician not trained as an epidemics expert. But none of these folks faces up to the obvious: To stem Covid-caused deaths, they will have to do something about the toll in nursing homes.

For of the many fatalities among senior citizens, about two-thirds – or almost half the total deaths – have been residents of the nation’s almost 15,000 nursing homes, just under 2,000 of them in California. That’s because this virus is particularly pernicious when attacking those who are already compromised – and who lives in nursing homes if not previously compromised in some way?

It’s been clear from the pandemic’s beginning last spring that nursing homes – often not prepared for external disasters like wildfires and earthquakes – also were not and still are not generally equipped to stem the virus.

This is because of conditions inside the homes, like frequently leaving disabled patients abed for days at a time, not testing staffers very often for viral exposure and not always establishing social distance within the homes. It’s also because both state and federal governments have failed consistently in responding to appeals from nursing home groups for more supplies of quality personal protection equipment for their workers.

But the most vital keys to stemming the viral tide among those most vulnerable are two items, one very specific to nursing homes, one very general.

First, nursing homes must be allowed, even compelled, to allow more visitors. At the start of the pandemic, nursing homes nationwide stopped allowing any visitors. Not even state inspectors could get in for fear they might bring in contagion. But staff continued to come and go and still does, often working at more than one job because wages in the homes can be very low.

Without visitors, no one can know what really goes on in the homes. Friends and relatives who make contact with residents through ground-floor windows and Facetime or Zoom conversations can barely get an inkling. Nursing home managements love complying with no-visitor rules, as that means no one can monitor their practices.

This makes allowing visitors the most direct way to improve things in the homes. There have been moves in that direction. In California, visitors can enter now, to see one per resident at a time, if a home has had no COVID-19 cases for several weeks and if they dress up in mask, gown and gloves to make sure of sanitation on all sides. But homes with no virus cases for weeks at a time are scarce, so this rule still needs more easing. For visitors have long been the prime control on nursing home practices. They see when patients are dehydrated, not bathed regularly, suffer from bedsores or are not properly distanced from each other.

The second need to cut the death toll in long-term care homes is much more general: a great reduction in cases within the outside community. For as isolated as the residents have become, often causing them enormous mental and emotional distress, staffers in the homes are just the opposite. Besides often working multiple jobs, they frequently live in crowded quarters among people of all ages and health practices and they bring those exposures into the homes daily. When community-wide caseloads rise, that means viral incidence and deaths in nursing homes do, too.

Nursing homes must have three things if the pace of deaths there is to subside: More equipment, better conditions outside the homes and, most important, more visitors so that relatives and others can know what’s going on inside and act on it where needed.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

in News
Related Posts

Third Annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant Application Period Now Open

October 4, 2022

October 4, 2022

Applications due January 6, 2022 Submitted by the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument (VJAMM) Committee The Venice Japanese American Memorial...

Santa Monica Human Services Grants Program Request for Proposal for FY 2023-27 Now Open

October 4, 2022

October 4, 2022

Applications due January 18, 2022  On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, the City of Santa Monica released a Request for Proposals...

Westside Ladies Clean Up History in Santa Monica

October 4, 2022

October 4, 2022

Members of the Santa Monica Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) spent some time this past month cleaning a...

Local Businesses Donate $400,000 to We Are Santa Monica Fund to Support Police Cadet Program

October 4, 2022

October 4, 2022

Program to be reinstituted thanks to donation Last week, the Santa Monica City Council approved budget appropriations for a $400,000...

Chevy Takes Over Electric Avenue For EV Test Drive Event

October 4, 2022

October 4, 2022

Local EV test drive event showcase the utility of EVs and EUVs in addition to new models by Chevy..Video sponsored...

Adult Female P-65 Is the First Mountain Lion in Study to Die of Complications From Mange

October 4, 2022

October 4, 2022

P-65 was found dead by biologists on March 4, 2022, near a stream in the central Santa Monica Mountains Adult...

Santa Monica Businesses Welcome German Health Trade and Science Delegation

October 3, 2022

October 3, 2022

German Minister-President, State Secretary and business leaders visit Santa Monica, forging path in artificial intelligence and medicine Quantgene, a Santa...

Santa Monica Police Department to Begin Enforcement for Vehicles Parked on Parkways

October 3, 2022

October 3, 2022

Officers will also enforce vehicles parked on driveway aprons The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will soon begin to cite...

New Affordable Housing Development Coming To 7th Street: Santa Monica Real Estate Report – October 3rd, 2022

October 3, 2022

October 3, 2022

Property, Developments, and Listings on the Westside.*  New Affordable Housing Development Coming To 7th Street* The Director Of Community Services,...

Developer Plans 136 Units of Housing Near Expo-Bundy Station

October 1, 2022

October 1, 2022

By Dolores Quintana  A new development could be on the way near the Metro Expo/Bundy station in the future if...

Community Corp of Santa Monica Holds Ribbon Cutting for Pacific Landing Affordable Housing Development

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

Project will bring 37 units of 100 percent affordable housing to Lincoln Boulevard and Pacific Street By Dolores Quintana Community...

Man Charged for Setting Fires Behind Seven Santa Monica Businesses

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

John Dean Thomason faces seven counts of arson By Sam Catanzaro A man faces charges for seven counts of arson...

LA Metro Lifts Mask Mandate

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

Masking no longer required at LAX as well  By Dolores Quintana As of September 23, Los Angeles County has lifted...