Most everyone is suffering from COVID-19 fatigue these days. The Corona Virus has been rampant in the United States since March and, as a result, most areas have been in some form of quarantine and/or lockdown. This has been difficult for everyone, but, with the highest risk and mortality rate, the world of seniors has been the group to suffer the most and experience the most change.
Long Term and Post-Acute Care homes and facilities have had to limit visitors, limit exposure from resident to resident, increase cleaning protocols, and many other changes. Though the pandemic has been ongoing for over seven months, experts are saying we are only about halfway through. As we continue to the next half of the pandemic, though things are much the same, seniors are tired of the pandemic, which makes life more difficult.
Though care-homes and facilities are following protocols and taking every precaution to keep the virus out, residents are still contracting it. Because seniors, and their caregivers, are in a high-risk category, facilities are hopeful to be prioritized in the administration of the vaccine when it is available.
With the pandemic continuing to last into 2021, there is a significant monetary strain on long term homes and post-acute facilities. Many long term and post-acute care centers have used federal and state assistance, and they are hopeful the assistance will continue as the pandemic does. For this monetary strain to be totally recovered, senior care facilities will need to return to capacity, which may take a few years.
A large percent of total United States COVID-19 related deaths have been associated with senior care facilities. Because of this, long term care homes and post-acute facilities have had to be hyper-vigilant and purposeful with every aspect of senior care living. Effective education and training have been vital at this time. The three main ways cleaning and disinfection have changed in senior care facilities are 1, frequency of disinfecting, especially in high touch areas, 2, more use of protective PPE equipment, and 3, the time the cleaning and disinfecting are performed. Though this has been a very difficult time, providers have gotten really good at these cleaning protocols and taking care of people with COVID-19, and hundreds of thousands of residents have recovered.
Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a program called the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. This program is for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, at no cost, for those involved with long-term care facilities. This program is designed to be free of charge to facilities and consumers, available for residents in long term care, nursing homes, assisted living, residential care homes, and family homes, available to staff members, and available in almost all areas.
This program allows seniors, the most at-risk population, to quickly and efficiently be vaccinated, without a burden of cost or organization. Once the vaccine is available, life at long term care facilities can begin to return to normal, and this program will facilitate that normalcy as quickly as possible.
Through this chaos, it has become abundantly clear the level of care and attention long term care workers and caregivers put into their residents. Additionally, with the prospect of the vaccine program for long term care residents and affiliates, there is a plan to pull long term care and post-acute facilities out of this COVID-19 slump in the quickest manner possible. This means these senior care facilities will be among the first groups to return to a functional normal!