Have a Safe Thanksgiving

Providers across the country are pleading with residents’ families to find alternative ways to celebrate Thanksgiving to prevent further disaster at nursing homes. McKnight’s reported on CMS’ recommendation that nursing home residents should not leave during the Thanksgiving holiday. The plea comes as the COVID-19 death toll approaches 100,000 in long-term care settings and cases are surging nationwide.

More than 2,100 Covid-19 deaths were reported in the US yesterday. It was the highest single day death toll the country has seen since early May. The most deaths in a single day were recorded April 15 — 2,603 people.

The alert to providers, residents and their family members will help manage residents, caregivers, and visitors. CMS referred all to its COVID-19 visitation guidance for nursing homes. CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a prepared statement:

“[Nursing home residents] have already endured loss and loneliness to a degree that would have been unthinkable before this year began, but they and their families — along with facilities themselves — must not let their guard down over the holiday season, especially with a safe and effective vaccine so close to reality.”  

Upon a resident’s return, CMS suggested providers screen and monitor them for signs and symptoms of the disease and consider placing them on transmission-based precautions if they do show signs of COVID-19.

Nursing homes need leadership. They need uniform national standards on masks, testing and contact tracing, and safe PPE.