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The Toll of Coronavirus 

Published on April 14th, 2020

People are separated from their families, friends and jobs, lives disrupted to maintain social distancing and follow stay-at-home orders.  Residents of nursing homes are isolated, prohibited from seeing loved ones and neglected by short-staffing and ill-prepared facilities. Because of the coronavirus, the lives of the normally active and engaged residents have drastically changed. Visitors are now restricted, group activities are on hold and dining together has been replaced by take-out meals or meals served in their rooms.

“Our residents have been through a lot,” said Tara Ober, vice president of communications and resident life at the Brethren Village. “Many were born in the Depression, have fought in wars, lived through presidential assassinations, and emotionally, they are very tough. It’s unfortunate that they are also among the most physically vulnerable to this virus.”  “There is a heavy emotional toll,” Ober said. “It’s not only the families who have lost loved ones, but our team members have grown very close to our residents, and it’s a loss for them, too.”

In Philadelphia, where most of the state’s cases have been reported, nursing homes have already pivoted from trying to keep the coronavirus out to working like crazy to keep it from spreading, The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting.
As an advocate, the main concern we are hearing from residents is what appears to be a lack of communication. Residents see staff members in gloves and masks. They see wings of their nursing homes being quarantined off. But they don’t necessarily know what’s going on – or they feel like they’re being kept in the dark about the spread of the virus. The association asks nursing homes to stay in touch with the loved ones of their residents, and if there is a positive case, keep them informed of how they are handling it.  Everyone knows how short-staffed nursing homes are and now with the staff sick or not showing up, staffing becomes even a bigger issue with the expectation that residents will suffer from preventable conditions like bed sores and falls.
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