The COVID-19 pandemic brought dramatic changes. Once comfortable with gathering in crowds to entering homes and commercial buildings without the need for face coverings, life now is much different with daily routines radically altered.
Businesses found themselves in the position of modifying their operations and changing long-held procedures, traditions, and habits. Yet, few, if any, have experienced the negative impact of a pandemic that is forcing facilities to improve their day-to-day operations.
The Deadly Impact on the Elderly
While little was known about the virus early in its arrival, one fact was universal. COVID-19 would impact the elderly the most, including those housed in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Fast forward to the present. Predictions became a reality. Approximately three-quarters of deaths occurred in the 65 and older age bracket, numbering around 130,000 of the senior population.
Nursing home and elder care residents account for only one percent of the population, yet they account for 40 percent of the fatalities. The 54,000 deaths in this age group are three times the national average. Several facilities individually saw more than 70 of these tragic losses since the pandemic struck.
Have Lessons Been Learned?
While many people talk about a post-pandemic “new normal,” nursing homes, in particular, must make radical changes in their processes and procedures when it comes to caring for the elderly. Even before the first coronavirus diagnosis hit the United States, government oversight and financial support were lacking at best, resulting in a lack of incentives that could improve the quality of care.
A wholesale overhaul is paramount. Change starts with better funding mechanisms and cutting-edge technology to remove extremely outdated systems. Some see home care as an option that is less expensive, more likely to have positive health outcomes, and can free up space for those with more serious medical issues.
If anything positive can emerge from the pandemic, it is both the spotlight and microscope placed upon nursing homes where far too many deaths from coronavirus occurred due to a variety of issues that have existed for decades, now ready for reviews and resolutions.