Nursing

COVID-Plagued California Nursing Homes Often Had Problems In Past

When Jorge Newbery finally got through to his 95-year-old mother, Jennifer, on a video call April 18, she could barely talk or move and her eyes couldn’t focus.

It was the first time he had seen her since California nursing homes shut their doors to visitors a month earlier. Immediately after the video chat, Newbery called the front desk in a panic.

“I said, ‘You gotta get her out, you gotta call 911,’” he recalled. “She’s looking like she’s about to die.”

Newbery’s mother was living at the Rehabilitation Center of Santa Monica, one of 198 nursing homes in California where at least one patient had contracted the coronavirus as of April 28, public health records show. The outbreak at the Rehabilitation Center has been worse than most, with 12 employees and 24 patients infected, including nine fatalities, according to the Los Angeles County health department.

The Rehabilitation Center shares

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‘It Hurts Our Soul’: Nursing Home Workers Struggle With Thankless Position

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — In the months before county health officials ordered the evacuation of COVID-19-plagued Magnolia Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, the facility’s employees complained of bounced checks. It sat on a list of the nation’s worst nursing homes for health and safety violations.

But when announcing the unprecedented evacuation of Magnolia’s 83 remaining patients last week, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s health officer, singled out the nursing home’s staff― after only one of its 13 certified nursing assistants showed up for a scheduled shift the previous day.

All health care workers in the age of COVID-19 are heroes, Kaiser said, but “implicit in that heroism is that they stay in their post.” The state licensing board may yet determine that the no-shows at Magnolia, where 34 patients and 16 employees had tested positive for the virus, “rise to the level of abandonment,” he told reporters.

Magnolia’s employees are now struggling

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Before ‘Tidal Wave’ Of Illness, Nursing Home Thought It Had COVID-19 Contained

More than 20 patients have died. Dozens more are still hospitalized. And residents who had already been sent back to a nursing home in Gallatin, Tennessee, have turned up with new cases of COVID-19.

An investigation finds that the facility downplayed the outbreak to first responders on 911 calls in late March. But the nursing home administrator told WPLN News that the coronavirus was unstoppable in Tennessee’s largest outbreak yet.

Dawn Cochran, the administrator of the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, said department heads were summoned to a Saturday night meeting within 20 minutes of learning a staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus. And all employees were notified on March 21, a full week before a mass evacuation began.

But COVID-19 was not a concern expressed in multiple 911 calls made on behalf of patients being sent to the hospital with trouble breathing in the days following

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Nursing Homes Have Thousands Of Ventilators That Hospitals Desperately Need

As the number of COVID-19 patients climbs and health officials hunt for ventilators to treat them, nursing homes across the United States have a cache ― about 8,200 of the lifesaving machines, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Most of the machines are in use, often by people who’ve suffered a brain injury or stroke. Some of those residents are in a vegetative state and have remained on a ventilator for years.

State officials are working to consolidate ventilators where they are most urgently needed. But so far, the supply in nursing homes has not drawn the same attention.

Or course, commandeering those units would set up a monumental ethical dilemma: Do you remove life support for a long-term nursing care patient in order to give a COVID-19 patient a better chance of survival?

The highest number of machines, about 2,300, is in California, where

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