How Patient-Centered Care Is Protecting Nursing Home Residents Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Unlike office jobs, nursing care for older people is not possible through video conferences. They need help in person with basic tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, etc. Since they cannot avoid direct physical contact in these facilities, they are more likely to be susceptible to diseases. It includes the deadly coronavirus that we are currently facing.
Compared to other groups of people, the pandemic has a long-term effect on the care industry. A lot of cases of the virus have been residents and health workers in nursing homes. Since older people are most vulnerable to contracting the disease, it puts people at nursing homes at risk. Residents of nursing homes are deemed more susceptible because of other underlying conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
However, some homes are doing better in comparison when it comes to protecting their residents. What are the main differences between an inadequate and proper response to a nursing facility against COVID-19?
The Right Response
Three factors play the most significant role in determining how well a nursing facility responds to the outbreak. Although there is no perfect response, there are indeed study-backed actions that can help stop the spreading. It depends on how it operates, its management quality, and the government’s regulation.
Quality Patient-Centered Care
Much of the nursing homes in the U.S. are private and for-profit facilities. As a result, the quality of the services may depend on the availability of resources, which bases on this profit. It can lead to understaffing and low-quality care if they cannot keep up with the costs and keep profit high.
On the other hand, public nursing homes put a better emphasis on investing in enhanced spaces and equipment. This patient-centered care also results in better responsiveness to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. By following the imposed regulations, these facilities can focus more on providing each patient’s needs.
Quality Of Management
The layout of the facility and how administrators manage physical contact ultimately affects their response to the outbreak. Most areas in nursing facilities are communal, including bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, activity rooms, and staff rooms.
It is essential to put up strict protocols and innovations in utilizing these shared spaces. It is also vital to have stocks of necessary gears such as masks and gowns for both patients and nurses.
Furthermore, it is essential to pay attention to their mental health. “Following placement in a long-term care facility, elderly patients often say the best times of their lives are over,” Dr. Kenneth M. Sakauye, MD, a geriatric psychiatrist and professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center notes. “They have been forced to move from home and feel as if they don’t have anything left to live for.”
This outbreak can take an extra toll on patients’ and nurses’ mental and physical health. Nowadays, video calling is the number one tool that can help lonely elders keep in touch with their families. Administrators should make sure that they can adapt through this challenging time by integrating activities that practice physical distancing.
The other critical factor determining the effectiveness of nursing homes’ response to the virus is government intervention. Also, if there is less virus spread in the community, staff personnel are less likely to contract the disease.
Hence, it is less feasible for them to introduce the virus in the facility. Nursing homes can set rules that have been proven effective in combating disease contraction based on the imposed regulations.
It also involves the topic of regulated staffing requirements. Putting qualified and registered nurses in the frontlines ensures that they provide proper care and educated responses. Hence, there should be a qualified health professional in these facilities who knows the measures and precautions.
Testing And Isolation
Testing and isolation are optimal in the lists of preventive measures when it comes to COVID-19. Since most staff work on shifts, they go home every day and enter the facility with the uncertainty of being a carrier. Persons-under-investigation and possible carriers should be strategically isolated to lessen the risk of infection.
What follows is the mass testing of the residents and staff. As we know, there are asymptomatic carriers who show no symptoms of being infected. That’s why incorporating early testing is undoubtedly an effective preventive measure.
An Efficient Preventive Measure Is The Optimum
COVID-19 is significantly affecting the state of many nursing homes. It is also crucial to look at the number of deaths in these facilities. Researches are highly helpful for health professionals to prepare for each day of providing care adequately. It will allow administrators to stir the facility into a better position in handling the outbreak.