The oft-overlooked post-acute care sector got here below the microscope in 2020 because the novel coronavirus took maintain. The congregate dwelling setting made nursing properties and assisted-living services simple targets for the virus to unfold. On high of that, older individuals with comorbidities have been discovered to be extra weak to the illness.
All through the pandemic, about 40% of the deaths from COVID-19 have been in nursing properties, though nursing dwelling residents solely characterize about eight% of the nation’s general COVID-19 circumstances. As of Nov. 22, there had been 354,313 confirmed COVID-19 circumstances, 169,733 suspected circumstances and 72,642 deaths amongst nursing dwelling residents, in response to CMS.
To fight the unfold of the virus in post-acute care settings, the federal authorities issued steering and a sequence of orders on an infection management, visitation restrictions and testing in nursing properties and despatched funds and point-of-care exams to services throughout the nation. But suppliers, struck by decrease census numbers and elevated prices for staffing, testing and an infection management, stated these measures weren’t sufficient.
On the identical time, households selected to take care of family members at dwelling to keep away from the perceived risks of long-term care services, aided by loosened restrictions on telehealth in dwelling care settings. A research by healthcare consulting agency Avalere exhibits that hospital discharges to dwelling well being elevated four.6% year-over-year in June, whereas discharges to skilled-nursing services have been down 25.four% in comparison with 2019.
Heading into the winter, COVID-19 circumstances in nursing properties reached their highest ranges but within the pandemic, leaving leaders frightened about the right way to handle the virus as group unfold outdoors services skyrocketed.
When nursing properties shut down in March, they needed to get artistic to maintain residents engaged and forestall isolation. Some held group exercise lessons within the hallways, so residents might take part from their rooms. Others employed companions, whose job was to socialize.
With restrictions on indoor visitation, services discovered new methods to attach residents to their household, associates and family members. They arrange customer drive-by parades; created outside dwelling rooms with clear dividers; and let households stand outdoors residents’ home windows and name them on the cellphone.
Might eight: CMS began requiring nursing properties to submit facility knowledge to the CDC on COVID-19 circumstances.
Aug. 26: CMS required nursing properties to check residents and employees based mostly on group unfold ranges, which created a backlash due to the restricted provide of exams and turnaround occasions.
Oct. 29: CMS makes telehealth modifications everlasting for dwelling healthcare that embody protection of telehealth companies below Medicare.