How To Provide COVID-19 Help For Your Elder Community

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Learn How You Can Help Nursing Homes During The Coronavirus Pandemic

According to John Hopkins University School of Medicine, recent estimates show nursing home residents make up less than one-half of one percent of the U.S. population but represent approximately 15 percent of COVID-19 related deaths to date. Many of these patients are frail and vulnerable, have multiple chronic conditions, and are under the care of health workers who face complex challenges.

Those challenges may include:

  • Ensuring nursing home staff have the support from other workers, appropriate personal protective equipment, and testing supplies.
  • Education and training on how to implement infection prevention and control measures on-site.
  • Making decisions on when to transport a nursing home resident who exhibits symptoms of the COVID-19 virus to a hospital, which may lack the capacity to provide appropriate care for them.
  • Coordinating the care of a resident to a nursing home after being treated in a hospital.
  • Fear of spreading the infection to vulnerable residents and staff.

Stakeholders Identify Four Groups Focused on Elder Care

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently gathered through the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness to highlight the innovative approaches communities can use to address the dangers COVID-19 presents to at-risk populations and their caregivers. The collaborative discussion involved health care professionals at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the state department of health, emergency medicine professionals, and members of the National Guard.

The group suggests citizens can offer help to four specific groups right now.

  1. Nursing Homes: Call a nursing home in your city or town. Ask how you can help while keeping a distance, including providing staff support in ways that would keep you outside of the nursing home they work at.
  2. Senior Centers: Call the senior center or Council on Aging in your city or town. See if they need help with meal delivery, safe outreach to isolated older people, a call to show support to caregivers, or other services.
  3. Boards of Health: Call your local Board of Health. Ask if there is something you can do in your community to help, like make outreach calls, or connecting family with nursing home residents or individuals who live in assisted living residences.
  4. State Department of Health: Visit your state’s Department of Public Health website. See if there is a portal to sign up to volunteer, or a site to apply for job openings in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

While this is not an easy time for anyone and distancing remains the most critical measure when dealing with at-risk populations, there may be small things each of us can do to help others provide better protection against the spread of infectious diseases in our elder communities.

Levin & Perconti: Attorneys at Law

As experienced advocates for long-term care residents and their families, our firm is ready to help ensure that your loved ones stay safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. Please use our resources to help you stay connected, and know that if you find yourself concerned about a resident’s well-being, you can call us at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417 to request our help during a free consultation.

Watch: How can nursing home residents and families stay connected during quarantine?

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