Thanks again to the folks at JobsTherapy.com for articles considering coronavirus best practices.
The deaths of at least 18 patients at a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., have illustrated the devastating toll the coronavirus can take on the elderly, raising questions about the safety of seniors at nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and skilled-nursing facilities around the country.
In early March, executives in the nursing-home industry encouraged facilities to ban social visits to residents until the epidemic subsides. Despite those recommendations, health officials have been urging the public not to panic since the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains quite low, according to an article in Forbes. These facilities should be following a good infection-control program throughout the year, regardless of the headlines, the magazine said.
At a news conference in early March, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the effects of the coronavirus are especially severe for the elderly and people with comorbidities such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma or obesity. It’s important to note, however, that Fauci didn’t say seniors are more likely to contract the disease, Forbes said. He merely said that in the unlikely event that they get sick, their symptoms and risk will be more severe.
The common flu, which has killed thousands of Americans already this year, still poses a far greater risk to seniors and the public at large, health officials have said. However, COVID-19 still is a serious matter since it is easily transmittable and there currently is no treatment or vaccine.
Beyond encouraging residents and visitors at senior facilities to wash their hands, Forbes recommends that family members ask questions to make sure their elderly loved ones are in a facility that is practicing good infection control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a simple factsheet for consumers entitled “Top 10 Infection Prevention Questions to Ask a Nursing Home’s Leaders.” This list of questions, created long before the coronavirus emerged, includes:
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