Nursing Homes Being Forced to Accept COVID-19 Patients

 In opinion, Politics

A Nursing Home in Washington State was the first to see a major cluster of COVID-19 cases. From there, nursing homes, veterans homes, and the rest of the population began to see rapid transmission of the virus. Into that scenario came governors: California, New York, New Jersey, all of whom mandated that COVID-19 patients be transferred to nursing homes. It was supposed to be after they’d been discharged from the hospitals when they were no longer contagious, only that has gone by the wayside. NY Gov Cuomo was first, and is finally taking some heat for his edict.

“They don’t have a right to object. That is the rule and that is the regulation, and they have to comply with that. If they can’t do it, we’ll put them in a facility that can do it.” Cuomo, in a Thursday news conference.

The nursing home industry strongly disgrees with Como’s push. Nursing homes generally are not staffed properly, have little personal protection equipment and have many employees who haven’t the skill level required to handle COVID-19 patients, according to a man who was a nursing home investigator for the state of Idaho for several years.  The facilities have the most vulnerable among us: the elderly, Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. Nearly all have an underlying medical issue.

So into the most vulnerable populations, these governors have thrown in COVID patients because they ‘need the beds.’ But Cuomo sent away the USNS Comfort because he said that New York no longer needed their beds. So which is it?

Even NBC reported,

“Nursing homes across the country have struggled to contain the coronavirus’ spread, facing shortages in testing, personal protective equipment and employees, who assist residents with everything from bathing to feeding themselves. Many elderly residents are unable to comply with basic infection control measures like hand-washing or mask-wearing, and suffer from underlying health conditions that make them more likely to succumb to the virus…

…On March 25, New York became the first state to issue a blanket rule prohibiting nursing homes from denying admission or readmission to residents because they are infected with COVID-19, and banned the facilities from testing patients for the disease before they are admitted.”

At least 11,000 people have died in nursing homes across 36 states, NBC stated. Some people have been pulling their loved ones from nursing homes because of the rule. VA facilities have also struggled to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

ABC7 reported,

Willie Campbell, an Army veteran in New Jersey, is among the individuals fighting for his life in a VA hospital. His family said he was at the facility in East Orange, where 356 patients had died and 42 patients had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“I am fearful my father is going to die, and my father is all we have right now,” daughter Jacqueline Dobbs sad. “If he dies, it’s like we’re dying. And it’s out of our hands because we can’t even see him.”

Campbell’s family said they had to push for Campbell to be admitted into the VA hospital, which had recently sent him to a nursing home, where the family said he contracted coronavirus.

“I want to know, will the VA fight for his life?” Campbell’s granddaughter Shanika McNair said. “The VA stated they didn’t want him back there. People who have served this country deserve a little bit more when it comes to healthcare.”

Will anyone fight for our older loved ones or our veterans during this pandemic? It appears that several governors feel that dumping  COVID patients into nursing homes is the right thing to do. In New York, body bags were sent to a Queens nursing home along with COVID patients. Five body bags a week like “clockwork.” After the patients were sent to the Queens nursing home – which had previously been virus-free, it only took a short few days before they had to use three of the body bags as COVID-19 spread, according to the Daily Mail.

Governor Cuomo has the bedside manner of a pit viper. New York was the first to enact the edict that pushed COVID patients into nursing homes.

 

Featured photo by Mike Groll, Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

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