Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some data on how Nursing Home hygeine has been since the Covid-19 and it wasn’t that good according to reports.
Nursing homes were already doing a poor job of preventing infections, even before the coronavirus pandemic. Now the virus is tearing through many of them.
A new government report finds that nearly half of all nursing homes repeatedly fell short in meeting federal standards to prevent infections between 2013 and 2017. More than 8 in 10 of the centers didn’t meet all the standards in at least one year during that time frame.
Those findings, detailed in a Government Accountability Office report released yesterday, further illuminate the dire threat the novel coronavirus poses in these homes, where the oldest Americans most vulnerable to serious cases also live in close proximity and share caregivers who can easily pass infections around.
Between one third and one-half of coronavirus deaths nationwide have occurred among residents of long term care facilities. In some states, nursing home residents account for 60 to 70 percent of the virus death toll. And in Canada, it’s 81 percent.
More than 1 in 6 nursing homes in the United States have reported covid-19 cases among residents or staff. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has described nursing homes as “a feeding frenzy for this virus.”
The measures include regularly using proper hand hygiene or isolating sick residents and using masks and other protective equipment around them. California had the most offenders, with 60 percent of nursing homes in the state found to be falling short of federal guidelines in 2017.
Almost all the deficiencies were classified as not severe, meaning residents weren’t harmed by the oversight. But these types of preventive measures become crucial in a pandemic situation, the GAO noted.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who requested the report, said it shows nursing homes “were unprepared to face a pandemic” and blamed the Trump administration for not doing more to correct longstanding breaches of safety protocol.
“Too many seniors and their families have suffered as a result of this pandemic, and there need to be big changes in the way nursing homes care for seniors,” Wyden said in a statement.
The Trump administration is now trying to correct that. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services required nursing homes to report virus death data by Sunday, and the agency plans to release it next week.
Cuomo, along with the governors of California and New Jersey, required nursing homes to admit residents who tested positive for the coronavirus, raising safety concerns among residents and staff members. The approach was in contrast to policies in Connecticut and Massachusetts, which designated certain facilities for covid-19 patients alone.
The covid-19 nursing home spread was particularly acute in New York, accounting for one fifth of all nursing home deaths nationwide. Cuomo initially appeared to shrug off his policy saying “it’s virtually impossible” to keep the virus out of nursing homes but this month revised it, saying hospitals can’t release patients into nursing homes unless they test negative for the virus.
Cuomo again addressed the criticisms yesterday, appearing to blame the policy on President Trump.
“Anyone who wants to ask why the state did that with covid patients in nursing homes, it’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC guidance,” Cuomo said. “So they should ask President Trump.”