Coronavirus disease is highly infectious and caused by a new virus that is leading to a deadly respiratory illness for at-risk populations, especially nursing home residents. During this challenging time, The Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term care has proven to be an excellent resource to those who have been isolated in a nursing home or elder community and their concerned family members. Please review and share the organization’s guidance in the hope of preventing the spread of coronavirus near you.
Coronavirus Prevention Tips for Long-Term Care Residents
Long-term care residents and staff should take the same precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 that they would from other viruses and infections.
- Wash your hands and avoid touching your face. While soap and water work best, hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol will also be effective.
- Distance yourself and limit interactions with others as much as possible. It is recommended to stay six feet away from others.
- Remind staff and others to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough, and frequently use disinfectant cleaners on surfaces.
- Ask the administrator about their infection control procedures and how they are working to prevent the spread of the virus. Ask that they inform all residents and families if the virus is found in the facility.
You may see an increase in the use of personal protective equipment such as facemasks, gloves, and gowns. This is to protect you and the staff from contracting or spreading the virus.
How Residents Can Stay in Touch with Family and Friends During Isolation
As all American’s have been asked to distance ourselves, staying connected to each other will be more challenging. Below are creative ideas and practices for staying connected with family during this time of isolation.
- Send hand-written letters and cards.
- Use technology, such as video conferencing (Skype, FaceTime), Facebook, text messages, or email.
- “Visit” with friends and family through a window or glass door.
- Brainstorm ideas for maintaining regular activities while isolating like playing bingo by using call lights, conducting an exercise class via video chat, or playing individual games like bowling in the hallway.
- Think of creative ways to bring entertainers into the facility such as asking local musicians, magicians, or talented family members to perform outdoors, use the intercom system, or use video chat to perform.
- Use this time to watch your favorite movie, discover a new book, listen to an audio book, read a magazine, or work on an art project.
- Use free online resources to access opera and symphony performances; visit world-famous museums or libraries virtually; take a virtual walk through museums or watch webcams of sights like the zoo or the International Space Station.
The team at Levin & Perconti is working tirelessly to advocate for nursing home residents during this time. Please use our resources and best practices provided on Consumer Voice’s webpage as you do your best to stay connected with your loved ones.
U.S. Nursing Home Negligence | Infectious Disease
Serious infectious disease complications can also result when a nursing home chooses neglect and the intentional understaffing of its workforce. Please reach out to Levin & Perconti, a Chicago-based law firm ready to provide you with a free nursing home abuse or provider negligence consultation at (312) 332-2872.
Also read: Can Nursing Homes Superbugs Be Washed Away?
How can residents promote good, safe care and keep up resident morale? A few things: make sure that they are washing their hands or asking the staff to assist them using hand sanitizer, reminding other residents to do the same thing; practice social distancing from other residents, staying six feet away; informing supervisors and administration if they observe staff who appear to be sick or not taking the steps that we’ve talked about above to prevent the spread of COVID-19; request that the administrator provide regular updates to them about what the facility is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and/or care for any residents who are ill; share the results of the facility’s self-assessment of its infection control practices with the residents; ask the facility staff to schedule regular times for residents to communicate with their family and to assist them if they need help.
Remember that they can still use the facility grievance process if they have any complaints or concerns. Consider ways to keep the resident council going, even if residents cannot meet in person. Perhaps residents could bring up issues by sending notes or take talking by phone to the resident council president who can then convey to them, to the designated staff person. Ask the activities staff to find creative ways to continue regular activities even with residents in their rooms, such as playing Bingo and using call lines, or using an exercise class via video chat.
If you have any additional questions, you can still reach our attorneys at Levin & Perconti, we are staying safe and working largely remotely, but all of the calls to our main office could be routed to individual attorneys or staff members. If you have questions or you can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, that’s email@example.com. My name is Mike Bonamarte, I appreciate your time. Please stay safe.