How are our precious elderly doing right now as residents of nursing homes or assisted living places? That is a question that we all must ask and find answers to in the coming months.
There have been many stories in that past weeks about facilities being on lock down against visitors and gifts, letters and even flowers and this can be frightening for the residents, staff and loved ones. Here is one article with the link for a Facebook group started by a man who took his mother out and brought her home.
Then there are the considerations of public disclosure of the data from these nursing homes. One article cited that they are not releasing this information because of Hipaa, but I don't buy that because in the state of emergency that we find ourselves, the public and the families especially have a need to know this data! Not to mention the EMT's so that they can gown-up accordingly.
These institutions are hotbeds for the spread of this or any other virus but this one especially as it causes the most deaths in the elderly and ill. In an already tense and grief-ridden time, we need to have transparency and flexibility in the exchange of information. My heart goes out to the residents and the families right now and I want to help in any way that I can.
The issues that they may be dealing with are grief, death of loved one in some cases but in all cases there is fear present as we have no contact with our loved ones and they with us. In an already stretched this staff, how are they being cared for now as the special protocol is taking up even more of the staff's time?
Here is a list of possible issues that the isolated residents are currently dealing with in exacerbations of the already painful effects of being in a home.
2. Fear and even trauma
3. Long waits to be tended to and cared for.
4. No communal activities.
5. No family or friends visiting.
6. No recourse!
Unfortunately, there are only a few ways that I can think of to counteract these untenable conditions.
1. Speak up and speak assertively with everyone and anyone involved in the nursing home industry and believe me that it is an industry.
2. Call your state department of adult protective services and insist that you talk with someone that can help you get information.
3. Write articles, blogs, letters to people in power and make your presence known as a family or friend of a resident.
4, This is the one that I favor but I have to be careful about the many caveats that sadly go along with it. Take your loved one home with you! The caveats are as follows.
a). They have advanced dementia of any kind. A home environment is not safe for them.
b). You can not afford another mouth and/or do not have the time to give them the care that they deserve or can't afford to hire aids to come in when you can not be there.
5. Make sure that you have access to them via phone. Some offer phones but others don't even have the lines to some of the floors or make you pay for a line. You need to be able to talk with them!
If there are no COVID-19 cases in your loved one's home, that is the ideal time to take them home but really there are other ways to get them home even from a facility that has some cases.
In the best of circumstances, these facilities are not the best solution at all except in some cases. Please serve and save our elders!