Home care healthcare in COVID-19 pandemic
What They Are Saying: As COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Continues, Long Term Care Residents And Staff Hopeful for Future
The COVID-19 vaccines have given residents and staff of long term care facilities a sense of hope. Nationwide vaccinations have led to weekly cases dropping to record lows, indicating that the vaccines are working. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidance that allows more indoor visitation in nursing homes. Many facilities are starting to safely welcome family and friends back into their buildings, rebuilding personal bonds that are beneficial to residents’ health and wellbeing.
It is critical that residents and staff continue to get vaccinated, and increased willingness among staff to receive the vaccine is encouraging. A new survey by OnShift reveals that between December 2020 and March 2021, willingness of long term care staff to receive the vaccine increased by 94 percent, and plans to decline decreased by 41 percent. The results of the OnShift survey follow a months-long #GetVaccinated campaign launched by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). With support from the CDC, the campaign’s website – getvaccinated.us – offers credible information from medical professionals, public health officials and scientists to help answer common questions about the vaccines among staff members and other individuals. AHCA/NCAL is optimistic the campaign will help meet their goal to vaccinate 75 percent of nursing home staff by June 30, 2021.
We have seen what is possible when we all come together. Let’s continue to prioritize long term care residents and staff so that we can keep our seniors and their caregivers safe. Meanwhile, members of the public must do their part to help reduce spread, so we can continue to reunite residents with their loved ones. When we all get vaccinated, we can bring a swifter end to the pandemic and protect our most vulnerable.
WATCH an AHCA/NCAL video celebrating vaccine distribution across long term care facilities.
Read the stories below to see the impact the vaccines are making on long term care:
“The state Agency for Health Care Administration announced on Tuesday that it was removing restrictions on residents of long-term care who want to visit with their loved ones. The move came more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic forced nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to close their doors to the outside world. The state restrictions were put in place in March 2020, with the goal of keeping the disease out of care centers, and were loosened later in the year to allow socially distant visits from loved ones. For many residents and their families, this news means everything, said Louise Merrick, administrator of Gulf Shore Care Center, a nursing home in Pinellas Park. Residents had been making the best of the pandemic-induced lockdown with window visits, phone calls and FaceTime. ‘None of that is the same as holding the hand of your loved one,’ Merrick said.”
“Families will once again be able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities – for the first time since the pandemic began. Gov. DeWine announced Monday that the state is easing some of the guidelines for visitation. It’s a relief for Jessie Smith, the director of social services at Rocky River Gardens in Cleveland. She’s been there for the last three months and says the change in people when they see their families is amazing to witness. ‘To see that kind of life come out of them it’s kind of wonderful. We get to go home, they have a room. And that’s what they’ve had for 14 months, so this is huge,’ Smith said.”
“Two little boys walked into The Lakeshore, smiling under their Pokémon masks and eyeing the ‘welcome back’ balloons that were floating in the South Seattle senior residence’s lobby. Their great-grandparents, George and Mary Kozu, waited as family members had their temperatures taken and signed forms stating they didn’t have COVID-19 symptoms. Finally, Mary Kozu walked toward her two great-grandsons, 6-year-old Jyler and 2-year-old Rysic … Visits at some of Washington’s long-term care facilities resumed this weekend following Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement last week that residents at nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and other care sites could have indoor visits, as long as the resident or visitor is vaccinated.”
Alabama Husband Reunited With Wife He Sang To At Nursing Home During COVID Pandemic Year
“John Kline of Montgomery is known nationwide as the man who had to sing to his wife, Ann, through a nursing home window when he was not allowed to visit in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kline and his wife, both 81, have now been allowed to return to visiting in person at the John Knox Nursing Home in Montgomery. ‘You cannot believe how that lifted my spirits,’ Kline told AL.com.”
“Visitor restrictions have been lifted on nursing homes across the state, allowing families to reunite with their loved ones. Many of those families haven’t been able to see each other in person for more than a year. Monday morning, a daughter was reunited with her mother. For the past year, Glenda Foster has visited with her mom, Dorothy, through the window or over Facetime.”
“With most long-term care residents vaccinated against COVID-19 and infection rates plunging, facilities across Pennsylvania on Monday began opening their doors wider than they’ve done in more than a year. At Messiah Village near Harrisburg, visitors began arriving in the morning, with no time limits on visits.”
“Nursing home visitations were allowed Wednesday at a Staten Island facility. For the first time since pandemic restrictions were put in place, visitors were allowed inside the Staten Island Care Center … ‘It’s really a blessing to finally see each other and to know that things are moving forward, that’s one of the things that I really love about this. This is only the first and more people will be blessed by this, by finally getting back to normal,’ visitor Alike Vandenveukel said.”
“With more than 85% of North Dakota’s long-term care residents now fully vaccinated for COVID-19, Governor Doug Burgum announced Tuesday that the state will shift from state-driven guidance to locally-driven decisions in basic care and assisted living facilities. More than 90% of long-term care residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The state says over 85% of residents and 49% of staff have received both doses.”
“Nancy Coan remembers the last time she hugged her husband nearly a year ago before his long term care facility would be closed down to in-person visitors due to COVID-19 … For the months to come her daily visits to see her husband Bill Coan at the Samaritas campus in Grand Rapids turned into virtual visits, and briefly, window or outdoor visits. Visits that the Coans said they were thankful to staff for making happen. But, on Monday, March 8, Nancy and one of her daughters, Kim, were able to go inside and sit six-feet away from Bill. It was the first time they’d seen him in person since November, on the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary.”
“After more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic, some nursing-home residents will finally be allowed to accept visitors. New guidance from the state’s public health department says fully vaccinated residents can now receive both indoor and in-room guests.”
“According to the state health department, around 80,000 residents and staff of long-term care facilities have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, workers hope that residents in these homes will soon be able to go back to some sort of normalcy … John Matson from the Alabama Nursing Home Association says nursing homes in Alabama have seen a dramatic decrease in cases recently. ‘We reached a high point around December right before Christmas of around 900 cases reported that week in nursing homes. The week of February 22 there were 21 cases reported in nursing homes around the state,’ Matson said.”
“[A] dramatic plunge in new coronavirus cases, combined with an aggressive rollout of vaccines, has injected new life into Oak Meadows and other senior communities. Group activities such as worship services, art classes, bingo and bridge clubs have returned with more vigor than before the pandemic. Hallways that were eerily silent for much of the past year have suddenly reawakened.”
“Dozens of residents at a North Hills nursing home received their second COVID-19 vaccine doses. The Haven at North Hills assisted living facility held its second COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Saturday. The hope is that the vaccinations will prevent infections and allow visitors to see loved ones.”
“At the Good Shepherd nursing home in West Virginia, one of the first states to complete vaccinations in all its elder care settings, residents can ‘finally get some fresh air’ and also attend Mass, said Morgan Murphy, the assistant administrator of the facility. ‘[Tuesday] was the first day Good Shepherd Nursing Home has been open to visitors since October,’ Murphy told ABC News. ‘It’s been very exciting for our residents and their families.’”
“Nearly 30 residents, family and staff at the Springs Hill Assisted Living Facility in Morristown were vaccinated Sunday, mostly for their second doses … Director of Resident Engagement Melanie Wallen says that even though all residents at the facility were vaccinated, it will still be a slow process back to normal. ‘Our residents have been vaccinated, a majority of our staff have been vaccinated, so we have now added to the protection that we have,’ Wallen says. ‘But, the world, outside people, are still waiting to get vaccinated so while we are step closer and closer to normalcy, there will still be a need to follow guidelines.’”
“Coronavirus vaccine clinics continue to be held across the state, including Wednesday at Elmcroft of Maplewood in Bridgeport. Coronavirus vaccine clinics continue to be held across the state, including Wednesday at Elmcroft of Maplewood in Bridgeport. This is the independent and assisted living facility’s third vaccine clinic. Residents and employees had a chance to get the Moderna vaccine, thanks to help from Lifetree Pharmacy. The facility’s executive director said about 98% of residents had been vaccinated twice.”
“Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said last week about 80% of residents in nursing homes have received the COVID-19 vaccine in our area. About 50 to 60% of staff in nursing homes have received the vaccine as well … Director of Nursing at Crest Manor Paula Bokman says their home sets an example of the preparedness needed to move forward for eased restrictions.”
“Rosemary Connelly just wants to have a good time. The 92-year-old feels the day is near now she has her second dose of Covid-19 vaccine. A resident at Roosevelt Care Center in Old Bridge, New Jersey, Connelly misses her family, which includes five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, one of whom was born during the pandemic.”
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.