Stop the Spread

COVID-19 has hit nursing homes hard. CMS and the Trump Administration have no plans to stop the spread. Coronavirus cases in nursing homes surged to an all-time high this week. The uptick is driven by spread of the virus in Sunbelt states. An analysis of federal data shows almost 10,000 cases during the week of July 26. The figures eclipsed the previous high of 9,421 cases in the last week of May. Deaths are on the upswing – 1,706 COVID-19 fatalities during the week ending July 26, a 22% increase from the previous week. These numbers are shared by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

Things are not getting much better in South Carolina though. The community spread continues. For example, NHC HealthCare Greenwood reached 87 total in-house active COVID patients this week. According to NHC’s online dashboard, 11 employees had also tested positive and not recovered, with another nine under investigation for COVID-19. Now, with positive cases spiking, she said they set up an active COVID-19 unit to quarantine all patients who test positive.

Sufficient staffing is the most important indicator of a nursing home’s quality and safety. Everyone in the industry knows that safe staffing saves lives. Unfortunately, inadequate nursing home staffing is a widespread and persistent problem. Some nursing homes provide good care, ensuring that their facilities have enough qualified staff. However, in the absence of limits on profits and administrative expenses, too many nursing homes fail to allocate the resources necessary to maintain sufficient and safe staffing. Safe staffing stops the spread and the surge.