Nursing homes hotbeds for COVID-19
In many of these nursing homes, COVID-19 is simply the tip of the iceberg, exposing numerous underlying problems.
The virus has manifested itself in a staggering number of deaths in nursing homes throughout the world.
And as makeshift morgues and the number of body bags continue to rise at an alarming rate, residents have been confined to their rooms. Visitors are told to stay home.
What is it like to stare at the same four walls day after day? What does it feel like to be in solitary confinement with no visitors allowed? What kills faster – COVID-19 or loneliness?
These questions are now at the forefront as the coronavirus tightens its deadly grip on
nursing homes and care centers; homes of the frail, the elderly and the most vulnerable.
Contact is to be made only through phone calls, emails, FaceTime and Skype.
In theory, these suggestions sound like the perfect antidote to combat depression and loneliness. But many of these residents who have successfully survived war, depression, scarcity and hunger, have no idea how to FaceTime or Skype and are not too sure about emailing. Many do not have telephones in their rooms and are at the mercy of the switchboard at the front desk.
It is so unfair that this segment of the population who have already endured a lifetime of work and worry should now be forced to face this virus, alone and afraid.
However, as always, light is stronger than darkness and due to COVID-19, light has been shone on the darkest, most vile corners of nursing homes throughout the world.
As a result of this scrutiny, several factors have become evident.
Shortage of staff and supplies.
In many nursing homes there is a severe staff shortage meaning tired, stressed caregivers are struggling to keep up with the demands of nursing care even before COVID-19 made this issues public knowledge.
Low pay, lack of training and poor equipment leaves nursing homes forced to get by as best they can on their own. All these conditions point to a serious lack of health care spending.
Supplies such as basic surgical masks and gowns are at a premium and, sometimes, simply not available.
Why is there such a gap? Why are these defenseless souls left without adequate care?
No doubt these questions are spreading throughout the world as quickly as the virus, itself. And one can be sure that individuals and organizations will respond to the questions, and even if the answers are not forthcoming, will take it upon themselves to act in caring and compassionate ways.
Companies such as ANNI Medical who’s group successfully delivered UNICEF with necessary supplies during the March 11, 2011 earthquake emergency is ready to support those in need for the COVID-19 emergency.
Individuals are doing their part, as well!
Phone lines are busy as families reach out to loved ones. Volunteers are ready to come at a moment’s notice to help where they can.
Awareness of the plight of nursing homes is continuing to spread and, as a result, positive changes are being made.
And, as always, hope will remain stronger than the pandemic, itself!