Change is Coming
Newsday reported that the nursing home industry is changing. Lost occupancy and stigma because of COVID-19 haunt the industry. It is time for a change. Experts agree that the neglect and systemic issues which caused the staggering death toll from COVID-19 need to change.
“COVID has amplified what was already a terrible problem and it’s really made it much more obvious,” said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at The Urban Institute in Washington.
The pandemic took more than 175,000 lives nationwide in nursing homes. Academics said that change should begin with higher compensation for direct care workers. Nursing homes faced unsafe staffing levels before the pandemic. It is getting worse.
“The pandemic’s devastating impact… is the result of our nation’s inadequate attention to the needs of residents and staff in long-term care facilities,” said Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation. “As a nation, we have not invested or planned for taking care of people as they live longer.”
Nursing homes should be small, cozy homes with eight or 10 residents. The goal is a more comforting environment while still providing medical care as needed. The home should include sanitized “safe rooms” for family visits. This experimental housing in some states have proved better for many patients’ care as well as showing signs of reduced COVID-19 infection, experts said.
The Urban Institute has a proposal to create a payroll tax to be used for that worker’s long-term care. This proposal is similar to the benefit from paying the Social Security payroll tax. Any solution must include paying workers more and giving them benefits.
Nursing homes must stockpile protective gear, establish salary caps for office staff and administrators, and caps on profits so that care isn’t sacrificed for profit.
The number of new cases fell in the U.S. for the ninth straight day, according to The NY Times’s seven-day moving average.