Coronavirus Pandemic: How Senior Homes Are Affected?

By on March 19, 2020
Coronavirus pandemic

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has spread to much of the world, has caused unprecedented economic destruction, with the cancellation of sporting events, business conferences and much more. 

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally declared a pandemic. 

Millions of employees are now working remotely, as businesses scramble to do everything they can to stop the spread of the virus, and some countries, such as Italy, have imposed so-called social distancing measures. 

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How have nursing homes been impacted?

Those managing nursing homes and senior living communities are also concerned about the virus’ spread – especially as senior citizens account for the bulk of the global deaths, as those with existing ailments are more vulnerable – and many have implemented measures themselves. 

Following the surge of Coronavirus cases in the US, senior living facilities began recommending residents to wash their hands more frequently and more thoroughly to curb its spread. Many facilities have also issued hand sanitizers to residents and stepped up their cleaning regimens, as have many businesses all over the world. 

Some care homes and assisted living facilities have opted to take more drastic measures on their own accord, such as not allowing visitors in and canceling or postponing planned outings for their residents. Over 100 facilities have already imposed a “no visitors” policy, and essential visitors and workers will be screened and closely monitored. 

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In line with government advice, senior living facilities have not been issuing face masks for residents and staff to wear, as researchers have questioned the effectiveness of them in limiting Covid-19’s spread. Instead, they are just simply urging residents to practice good hygiene and avoid touching their faces. 

Politicians support measures, stress danger to the elderly 

French President Emmanuel Macron has been quite vocal in supporting the “no visitors” policy with regards to care homes, as he urged his citizens not to visit seniors as they are much more prone to death than the average adult if they contract the novel coronavirus. However, unlike Italy, which has the most Coronavirus cases of any country in the world except China, the French government hasn’t officially banned citizens from visiting senior living facilities. 

In Washington alone, there have already been 11 reported outbreaks at senior living facilities, stoking concerns. This prompted Washington Governor Jay Inslee to ask senior living facilities to limit the number of visitors to care homes in the state and to screen residents and visitors carefully. 

Meanwhile, American Health Care Association President Mark Parkinson urged family members of people residing in senior living facilities to avoid visiting them. 

“Instead, come up with an alternate way to communicate, including phone, text, FaceTime or Snapchat,” he added. 

Parkinson emphasized that the Covid-19 virus is particularly a threat for senior citizens, describing it as “almost the perfect killing machine” for the elderly. 

The disruption caused by Covid-19 has hit all organizations and businesses, not just care homes, having profound implications for the global economy and wiping trillions of dollars off stock exchanges in the US and beyond. Over 100,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with over 10,000 in Italy alone and in excess of 1,000 across the US.

Some countries have implemented social distancing measures, such as encouraging remote working, canceling sporting events and urging citizens to maintain a one-meter distance from one another. 

A Quick Summary

  • The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus is causing disruption all over the world and has been dominating the headlines and news bulletins for weeks now.
  • The elderly are particularly at risk, as many have underlying health issues which means they are more likely to die if they contract the virus than the average adult. 
  • To limit the spread of coronavirus to senior citizens, many assisted living facilities and care homes have adopted a “no visitors” policy, while also distributing hand sanitizer and encouraging residents and employees to wash their hands more frequently. 
  • A senior US health official stressed that the Coronavirus is a major threat to senior citizens, describing it as almost the “perfect killing machine” and urging family members to use alternative methods of communication instead of visiting care homes. 
  • In some jurisdictions, the government has banned visitors to senior living facilities, while calling for residents and workers to be screened and closely monitored. 
  • The effectiveness of face masks in stopping the spread of the virus has been called into question, and governments aren’t formally advising the population to purchase and use them.

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Coronavirus Pandemic: How Senior Homes Are Affected?