The visitation restriction has left a deep gap in the nursing home
Vaccines have begun to save lives in New York nursing homes, but they have not yet cured another crisis caused by the pandemic: loneliness.
In the state, despite the relaxation of restoration regulations, it is not possible to visit nursing homes for free due to the continued high incidence of COVID-19.
As of this week, according to state and federal regulations, these facilities can only accept visitors if the patient or staff has no new infections within 14 days.
Both of these requirements are difficult to achieve. According to the Associated Press analysis of data from the US Medicaid and Medicare Centers, as of mid-March, only more than half of the 626 nursing homes across the state were not eligible for indoor visits. In any other state, the percentage will not be higher.
New York updated its visit guidelines on Thursday to resume work under certain conditions, even if residents or staff have recently tested positive. However, the relaxation measures may not pave the way for many places where the coronavirus has been eradicated.
The lack of visitors frustrated people like Debbie Barbano. She managed to see her 69-year-old mother in a nursing home in the middle of the state, but only through the window.
Barbano declared: “When this happened last year, it was like a bullet.” “She didn’t understand why I didn’t come. As if he was going to abandon her.”
According to the new New York guidelines, nursing homes must still avoid visits if residents or staff test positive, but if another round of testing determines that the outbreak is only partially restricted, the nursing home may continue to visit some patients.
However, it is not clear how the regulation will be applied and whether the change will mainly affect large nursing homes with multiple buildings, floors or units, where employees or residents have little contact with people from other units.
State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker (Howard Zucker) put forward the reason for visit restrictions, pointing out that 15,000 nursing home residents were infected during the winter wave, and at least 3,000 of them died.
The federal plan to vaccinate nursing home residents will help reduce COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in nursing homes across the country. In the second week of March, 41 nursing home residents in New York died of COVID-19, down from 382 in the week ending January 17.
As the national infection rate fell, by mid-March, 80% of nursing homes were opened, including most of the nearly 1,200 such institutions in California.
In New York, the rate of infection among nursing home residents has declined faster than that of workers. Some workers have been hesitant to get the vaccine. With the increase in cases in parts of New York City and its suburbs, New York State statistics show that 68% of nursing home residents and 51% of staff in New York City have been vaccinated.
“The nursing home is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Christopher Laxton, executive director of the Association of Long-Term and Acute Post-Acute Care Medicine, whose members are seeking clarification from the center of the new rules. American Medicare and Medicaid services. “We are not at the end of the tunnel. We are seeing the end of the tunnel.”
In some respects, some people are doing their best to meet their loved ones.
Family members who organize Facebook groups in New York and across the country claim that their loved ones are losing weight, falling, cognitive decline, dying alone and suffering from inattention. Federal and state guidelines allow compassionate visits, but families in New York and elsewhere say that nursing homes do not always allow them to do so.