Nursing

States Allow In-Person Nursing Home Visits As Families Charge Residents Die ‘Of Broken Hearts’

States across the country are beginning to roll back heart-wrenching policies instituted when the coronavirus pandemic began and allow in-person visits at nursing homes and assisted living centers, offering relief to frustrated families.

For the most part, visitors are required to stay outside and meet relatives in gardens or on patios where they stay at least 6 feet apart, supervised by a staff member. Appointments are scheduled in advance and masks are mandated. Only one or two visitors are permitted at a time.

Before these get-togethers, visitors get temperature checks and answer screening questions to assess their health. Hugs or other physical contact are not allowed. If residents or staff at a facility develop new cases of COVID-19, visitation is not permitted.

As of July 7, 26 states and the District of Columbia had given the go-ahead to nursing home visits under these circumstances, according to LeadingAge, an association of

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Federal Help Falters As Nursing Homes Run Short Of Protective Equipment

Around the country, nursing homes trying to protect their residents from the coronavirus eagerly await boxes of masks, eyewear and gowns promised by the federal government. But all too often the packages deliver disappointment — if they arrive at all.

Some contain flimsy surgical masks or cloth face coverings that are explicitly not intended for medical use. Other are missing items or have far less than the full week’s worth of protective equipment the government promised to send. Instead of proper medical gowns, many packages hold large blue plastic ponchos.

“It’s like putting a trash bag on,” said Pamela Black, the administrator of Enterprise Estates Nursing Center in Enterprise, Kansas. “There’s no real place for your hands to come out.”

As nursing homes remain the pandemic’s epicenter, the federal government is failing to ensure they have all the personal protective equipment, or PPE, needed to prevent the spread of the

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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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