If there’s one thing that we can take away from the pandemic, it’s that we need to pay closer attention to what goes on in nursing homes.
Our eldest citizens deserve so much better care than they’ve been given in the last few months.
At the best of times, there are many nursing homes that work tirelessly to give the best care that they possibly can to their patients… and there are some who do not.
One thing that helps prevent neglect and spot abuse are frequent visits from family members to ensure that their loved one is being taken care of properly.
During the pandemic, these visits have been restricted severely.
If you are not handling the lockdown well, just imagine the elderly and infirm who are dependant on other people for their care.
This is the reality of the lockdowns.
At one point, in a completely heartless decision, city-run nursing homes in Canada’s capital city were banning “window visits” until they were shamed in the news to reverse the decision.
In a viral video, a British woman had a “window visit” with her mother at a nursing home and noticed that she was not looking well at all. While she spoke to the staff member on the phone, she expressed her concerns but was dismissed and told to “call back on Monday” — two days away.
This video is heartwrenching:
How is this ok? This is the reality of lockdown. More old people were killed by the Government putting sick people into the homes than anything else. Are you going to let your friends keep sitting in comfort, in denial, contributing to this horror show? pic.twitter.com/mibOb37q4w
— Ninnyd 🇬🇧❤️🇺🇸 Waiting~4~the Revolution (@ninnyd101) December 6, 2020
That’s just awful!
Nursing homes often suffer from understaffing and that affects their ability to provide proper care. Add to that the increased precautions that need to be taken during the pandemic, and that’s a recipe for disaster.
Residents of long-term care facilities are dying prematurely at a higher rate, and not just from COVID.
As more than 90,000 of the nation’s long-term care residents have died in a pandemic that has pushed staffs to the limit, advocates for the elderly say a tandem wave of death separate from the virus has quietly claimed tens of thousands more, often because overburdened workers haven’t been able to give them the care they need.
Nursing home watchdogs are being flooded with reports of residents kept in soiled diapers so long their skin peeled off, left with bedsores that cut to the bone, and allowed to wither away in starvation or thirst.
Beyond that, interviews with dozens of people across the country reveal swelling numbers of less clear-cut deaths that doctors believe have been fueled not by neglect but by a mental state plunged into despair by prolonged isolation ̶ listed on some death certificates as “failure to thrive.”
“Failure to thrive” raises the question if this “new normal” is creating a world worth living in.
In many places, children are no longer in classrooms, and “virtual learning” is hurting their education, high school kids are dying not from COVID but from suicide and overdose — but it’s not just teens. There has been a rise in calls to suicide hotlines and Cali doctors confirm that people are killing themselves at an alarming rate.
Now we’re seeing members of the Silent Generation — who came through the tail-end of the Great Depression as children, followed by World War II and, then helped usher in the Civil Rights Movement — who are being neglected and losing hope because they are at the highest risk for death from SARS-CoV-2. The precautions include keeping them isolated from their families and locked inside a nursing home at the very end of their lives.
Stephen Kaye, a professor at the Institute on Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco discovered some disturbing trends. He analyzed the data from the 15,000 facilities across the U.S. and found that for every two deaths by COVID-19, there is one premature death from “other causes” which is contributing to an “excess” death rate above what is normally expected in nursing homes.
…Those “excess deaths” beyond the normal rate of fatalities in nursing homes could total more than 40,000 since March.
Comparing mortality rates at homes struck by COVID-19 with ones that were spared, Kaye also found that the more the virus spread through a home, the greater the number of deaths recorded for other reasons. In homes where at least 3 in 10 residents had the virus, for example, the rate of death for reasons besides the virus was double what would be expected without a pandemic.
That suggests the care of those who didn’t contract the virus may have been impacted as healthcare workers were consumed attending to residents ill from COVID-19 or were left short-handed as the pandemic infected employees themselves.
Source: Associated Press
We keep seeing headlines about the toll that COVID and the lockdowns are taking on the elderly and it’s just heartbreaking.
Associated Press: Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows
Associated Press: Report: Belgian nursing homes failed patients amid pandemic
We need to take a good, hard look at what we’re doing and what the most vulnerable in our society are being subjected to, and decide if what we’re doing is working or making the cure worse than the disease.
In the case of nursing homes, we need to find a way to protect the vulnerable without killing their spirit. It’s a hard line to walk, but there must be a way forward where we can prevent unnecessary deaths while still maintaining the quality of life and not having our retirees wish for death as an escape from lockdowns.