Giving Compass' Take:
- Sheria Robinson-Lane sheds light on how to assess where elderly loved ones should receive care during the pandemic.
- How should elderly care change going forward? What preparation can be done now to guard elderly care against future pandemics?
- Read about improved infection control in nursing homes.
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Nursing home residents and workers account for about one-third of COVID-19 deaths in the United States so far, according to media reports.
Sheria Robinson-Lane, a gerontologist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, is an expert in palliative and long-term care and nursing administration. Her research focuses on the care and support of older adults with cognitive and/or functional disabilities, and on ways older adults adapt to changes in health, particularly how adaptive coping strategies affect health outcomes.
Here she offers context on the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes and how to assess where a loved one with health needs should live:
Why is the risk so much greater in nursing homes?
Some of our most vulnerable adults live in nursing homes. Just to qualify for a nursing home stay, whether for short-term rehabilitation or long-term care, you must require 24-hour nursing care. This care is generally necessary as a result of significant injury, like a fractured hip or a traumatic brain injury, or related to worsening of chronic disease.
In general, more than 90% of older adults have at least one chronic disease. More than 70% have at least two chronic diseases. In nursing homes, this number starts to go up significantly. As a result of chronic disease and/or injury, people in nursing homes generally do not have optimal immune system functioning, so it’s a lot easier for them to get sick in general.
What policies at the state and federal level could lessen the risk for nursing home residents?
Nursing homes are currently very heavily regulated at both the state and federal level. There are specific rules around how infections are tracked within facilities, necessary postings, expectations regarding care, and, of course, sanitation.
Read the full article about nursing homes during coronavirus by Laura Bailey at Futurity.