Nursing Homes Ban Visitors due to Coronavirus
CHICAGO, IL – Nursing homes have become islands of isolation amid the shocking morality rate of coronavirus. Nursing homes nationwide have become concerned about outside visitors visiting residents which has led to the barring of all visitors – adult children can talk to their parents through a glass door just as jailhouse visitors due.
As of Wednesday, there are more than 1,311 cases confirmed in the U.S., according to state and local health agencies, governments, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nursing homes are locking down in hopes to protect some of the nation’s most vulnerable residents from being affected by the coronavirus. Thousands of nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country are taking extra precautions. Many families are debating whether to move their loved ones out of these facilities all together and care for them at home.
On Tuesday, industry leaders recommended curtailing visits, calling this challenge “one of the most significant, if not the most significant” issues the industry has ever faced, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
The highly contagious disease puts the elderly and those who suffer from underlying health conditions such as respiratory distress at high risk, alarming businesses, schools, and health agencies. Guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Health Care Association (AHCA), and the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH), and the Illinois Health Care Association is rapidly increasing for these facilities.
Hospital Policies and Procedures for COVID-19
Because of ease of spread in a long-term care setting and the severity of illness that occurs in residents with COVID-19, facilities are discouraging visitation and have the ability to screen visitors before COVID-19 is identified in their community.
Facilities are responsible for sending letters or emails to resident’s family members, advising them to consider postponing
Who is at Higher Risk?
From earlier information gathering from China where COVID-19 originated from, those who are higher risk of getting sick from this illness includes:
- Older adults
- People who suffer from serious chronic medical conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
Depending on how severe the outbreak is in your community, public health officials will make recommendations to the community to reduce the public’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can stunt or reduce the impact of spreading the disease.
If you are at a high risk because of your age or serious long-term health problem, it’s crucial to take extra precautions to reduce your risk of getting sick.
How to Prepare for COVID-19 Now
According to the CDC, there are several ways you can make yourself prepared in case of an outbreak in your community.
- Have supplies on hand
- Contact your health provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case of an outbreak in your community in the event that you need to stay at home for an extended period of time.
- If you’re unable to get extra medication, consider using mail-orders.
- Ensure that you have extra over-the-medicine and medical supplies such as tissues, thermometers, etc. to treat fevers and other symptoms. Most people will recover at home.
- Have enough household items and groceries to be prepared for staying at home for a period of time.
- Take precaution
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Take preventable action:
- Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is critical, especially after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing in a public place.
- If soap and water is unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, and shaking hands with others.
- Wash your hands immediately after touching a surface in public.
- Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, and toilets.
- Avoid large crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure can increase substantially in a crowded area, especially those with little to no air-movement, increasing your chance of contracting COVID-19.
- Avoid all non-essential travel including traveling by plane or embarking on a cruise ships.
- If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community, it’s important to take extra measures to distance yourself from others to reduce your risk of being exposed to this virus.
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Consider ways of food being delivered to your house, through the use of family, or social and commercial networks.
- Stay at home as much as possible.
Watch for Symptoms and Emergency Warning Signs
- It’s important to pay attention to warning signs of potential COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your physician immediately.
- If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, please seek medical attention immediately. Adult emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing or a shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Bluish-tinted lips or face
It’s important to note that these are not all warning symptoms of COVID-19. Please consult a medical provider for other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What to Do if You Get Sick
- Stay at home and call your healthcare provider.
- Call your healthcare provider and let them know the symptoms you are experiencing. This will help them take care of you and keep others from getting infected or exposed.
- If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you are able to recover from home.
- Know when to get emergency help.
- Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the warning signs listed.
How to Support Older Adults
Communities should prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19 that include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them, to ensure their needs are being taken into consideration. Many individuals in the community depend on services and support in their homes or in the community to maintain their independence and health. Long-term care facilities should be vigilant to prevent the introduction or spread of COVID-19.
Family and Caregiver Support
Know what medications your loved one is taking and make sure to have extra on hand. Monitor food and other medical supplies, such as oxygen, dialysis, wound care, etc. and always be sure to have a back-up plan. Stock up on non-perishable food items to minimize your number of trips to the store. If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of other residents and know the protocol in the event there is an outbreak.
For more information on how to protect your loved one who is in a long-term care facility or assisted living facility, please visit CDC’s website on ways to take more precaution. If your loved one has sustained a serious infectious disease complication resulting from negligent or missed medical treatment provided by a nursing home or due to a low level of staff care, they may be entitled to compensation. Please reach out to Dinizulu Law group now for a free consultation at (312) 384-1920.