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How are Nursing Homes Recovering from the Covid Pandemic


— June 25, 2021

It is difficult to determine the future course of nursing homes and assisted living care. However, a valuable life lesson that the pandemic has brought to the forefront is the value of social interaction. 


Nursing homes are supposed to keep senior citizens safe and help them live their golden years to the fullest. However, the walls that were meant to protect were blown through by the COVID-19 virus. The pandemic has systematically exposed a series of problems within our modern society and our institutions. 

Now, as we slowly rebuild toward a new normal, nursing homes are taking small steps in easing restrictions. Many facilities have created a wider context for social interaction between residents and opened up visitations (often within certain guidelines).

Nursing Homes During the Pandemic

Nursing homes were hit particularly harshly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since facilities house a large number of people categorized in the high-risk group, an outbreak had a devastating potential. The risk also affected the staff, as they were considered to work a job with a high risk of exposure. The way nursing homes handled the problem was and continues to be a highly disputed and controversial topic. 

To put things into perspective, consider statistics. Without getting into the heated debate around how incidents are reported, a set of recent data shows the following: a total number of 655,110 confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents and 132,608 deaths; while among staff, 583,756 confirmed cases and 1,931 fatalities were registered. 

Small Steps Towards a New Normal

The ongoing institutional dynamics remain complex and volatile. Nursing homes are slowly taking steps to return to the old normal while others test grounds for the new normal. There are several different approaches, mainly based on location. 

Vaccination in Nursing Homes

The vaccination stage was a turning point in the course of the pandemic. Due to the high-risk factor, nursing homes were at the top of the list for vaccinating both residents as staff. The initiative led by the federal government contracted Walgreens and CVS in this regard. However, several local pharmacy chains also got involved in the effort. The first wave of the nationwide campaign of nursing home vaccinations started at the end of December 2020.

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Photo by Abyss on Unsplash

However, opinions are split on the impact vaccines might have had on life within the facility. Some argue strongly in favor of the vaccine’s effectiveness regarding this vulnerable community, while others voice concern over ongoing struggles following vaccination.

Social Activities

While nursing homes still tend to abide by infection control protocols, some measures have eased up considerably. Mainly, residents can now interact with each other more freely; they can share stories while having their meals at the dining room, rehearse for upcoming plays, or participate in group exercises. 

The Issue of Visitation

Pausing visitations in nursing homes during the pandemic was a particularly difficult blow to many. Residents often struggle with loneliness and isolation, which was only exacerbated in this context. However, measures are starting to ease up enough to allow loved ones to visit, with certain exceptions.

There may still be certain exceptional situations that could hinder your visit to the nursing home. For example, if a resident or the visitor has been diagnosed with COVID-19, visitation will not be allowed. Some facilities may not allow visits to residents who are not vaccinated. Also, if the facility is located in a high-risk area, then the administration might adhere to stricter rules and regulations.

If you are planning to visit your loved one, the safest thing to do is call ahead. Talk with the staff and learn about their approach to the issue. In some cases, visitation is allowed in certain circumstances: if it was pre-scheduled and if it fits within a given time frame. The administration may determine a set amount of time loved ones can spend together to limit exposure.

Also, visitors might need to complete a standard health check before entering. This can include a temperature check, wearing a mask, and respecting physical distancing. Make sure to ask about any such rules and regulations before your visit so that you go prepared. 

If during your visit you suspect that your loved one has suffered an injury as a result of the staff’s negligence, contact a professional lawyer. In the case of losing a loved one, it is also possible to sue a nursing home for wrongful death. Many law firms offer a free initial consultation in which the basics of the case are discussed, and a possible course of action is set (https://www.morrisbart.com/).

A Possible Future 

It is difficult to determine the future course of nursing homes and assisted living care. However, a valuable life lesson that the pandemic has brought to the forefront is the value of social interaction. 

Hopefully, we can all become more involved in dealing with the pressing issues of loneliness and isolation the elderly are prone to experience. Facilities should also set up a more rewarding program for the staff and encourage creating genuine connections between them and residents.

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