Articles Posted in Nursing homes

airliftwatertexasfreeze-300x227The climate change deniers can holler their heads off. But for all too many people from coast-to-coast, Mother Nature’s fury is tragically clear — as is the importance of not only future thinking but also emergency planning, by individuals and institutions.

This includes knowing common sense steps to safeguard one’s self and loved ones, in unusual circumstance, from misuse and abuse of ordinary products that also may have their own shortcomings, defects, or dangers.

Huge hurrahs, of course, are in order for the overworked, overstressed, and valiant doctors, nurses, and other health workers who — even while battling the over load of the coronavirus pandemic — have kept up medical services in hard hit areas of Texas and elsewhere during a brutal winter storm and its harsh freeze. The nightmarish conditions afflicted not only big hospitals but also those who provide desperately needed at-home care to the vulnerable.

cmsjan2021nhomedeaths-300x156The campaign to vaccinate millions of residents and staff in the nation’s thousands of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities against the coronavirus is gaining momentum and showing early, positive effects.

At the same time, however, information is emerging on shabby treatment of the vulnerable, including their exposure to illness exported into their facilities from hospitals, explaining the increasing number of civil lawsuits that owners and operators face.

Good news has been so rare with the pandemic that it may be worth considering first the coast-to-coast drive for long-term care facility vaccinations.

candidacdcauris-300x135Patients long have dreaded the possibility that — when already seriously ill or hurt — they also would be hit with debilitating or deadly hospital- or health care-associated infections, aka HAIs. The most nightmarish of these cases involve bacteria or fungi difficult to subdue, even with powerful treatments.

Now, with care institutions overwhelmed by coronavirus pandemic cases, drug-resistant HAIs are increasing — and in worrisome fashion because they are so difficult on their own for patients, doctors, and hospitals to deal with, the New York Times reported:

“’Seeing the world as a one-pathogen world is really problematic,’ said Dr. Susan S. Huang, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California at Irvine Medical School, noting that the nearly singular focus on the pandemic appears to have led to more spread of drug-resistant infection. ‘We have every reason to believe the problem has gotten worse.’ A few data points reinforce her fears, including isolated outbreaks of various drug-resistant infections in Florida, New Jersey, and California, as well as in India, Italy, Peru, and France. Overall figures have been hard to track because many nursing homes and hospitals simply stopped screening for the germs as resources were diverted to Covid-19. When even modest screening picked up again early in the summer, the results suggested that certain drug-resistant organisms had taken root and spread. Particularly troublesome have been growing case counts of a fungus called Candida auris [shown in CDC photo, above], which authorities had tried to fight before the pandemic with increased screening, isolation of infected patients and better hygiene.”

boxing-300x199Although corporate titans insist that Big Business can show more responsibility and not put profit ahead of all else, consumers are getting tough displays of how loath companies can be to owning up to dealing with harms their enterprises can cause or the rapacious pricing of their goods.

The most recent sketchy signals on product liability and costs came from a spectrum of enterprises and their executives, including nursing home owners and operators, a giant furniture maker, and, of course, Big Pharma.

Caveat emptor? Maybe. Or does the corporate ducking, bobbing, and weaving that would make a champion boxer proud also underscore that there are sound reasons for rigorous corporate oversight and regulation by governments, as well as a need for individuals, in keeping with their constitutional rights, to seek justice with medical malpractice and other safety and liability lawsuits in the civil system?

coronavirusvaxallocationfmgao-300x167As coronavirus vaccine supplies  keep far exceeding demand, and as the new administration races to acquire and distribute more doses, as well as to kick start  plodding vaccination campaigns across the country, it may be a challenge not to ask the people who oversaw battling the pandemic before: What the heck were you thinking?

More on that in a second.

As of Jan. 29, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that ~49 million vaccine doses had been shipped and ~28 million were administered, with ~23 million patients now having received at least one of two shots required.

altarumfig-300x176The Biden Administration faces major challenges as it seeks to tame the coronavirus pandemic’s terrible toll on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The roll-out of vaccines for residents and staff plods along, while a big concern may be rising as facility staffing keeps eroding.

The New York Times reported that Walgreens and CVS, the chain pharmacies that the Trump Administration chose to partner with with to deliver vaccine shots to long-term care facilities, have vaccinated 1 million and 1.6 million residents and staff, respectively.

Both companies say the vaccination rollout has been rockier and tougher than expected, with issues in getting required consent for shots for the elderly, sick, and injured, as well hesitancy among staff. Vaccine supplies have been less predictable than would be optimal, though the pharmacies are not reporting shortfalls. Rina Shah, a group vice president at Walgreens, told the New York Times that the logistics and scheduling of vaccinations, with multiple visits at facilities, has required a “monumental effort.”

bidenPresident Biden kicked off his term by swiftly issuing a series of executive orders and sharing an actual plan to combat the unchecked, raging coronavirus pandemic — which he warned will get worse before it gets better and may kill as many as 600,000 Americans in grim days ahead.

Biden put the federal government squarely in the Covid-19 battle, promising to work with states and local governments but not, as his predecessor had, to shove huge roles and responsibilities on a host of others without talking with or helping them thereafter.

He said his strategies and tactics would rely on science and the best experts available, not on personal and political cronies or personalities popping up on TV broadcasts or extremist online sites.

coronashot-300x178President Trump’s health leaders, racing toward the exits after their boss incited an end-of-term insurrection at the Capitol, acted to sow their own destructive confusion.

They left the incoming Biden Administration with new fury and frustration surrounding the efforts to get hundreds of millions vaccinated against the increasingly deadly coronavirus.

This wasn’t a juvenile prank like pulling “w” keys off White House computers. It was yet another incomprehensible bungle in what has been a shambolic federal response to the pandemic. It occurred as the nation keeps shattering records for coronavirus deaths, infections, and hospitalizations. As CNN reported:

The brutal data slipcovidnhomestatsdec20-300x271 in and out of the headlines. But the terrible toll of the coronavirus on the aged, injured, and sick in institutions is increasing in unceasing and unacceptable fashion.

Not long ago, HIV-AIDS activists crusaded against the public’s ignoring a lethal infection with the stark saying: Silence=Death. Is it becoming necessary to intone this about the relentless but seemingly tacitly accepted, coronavirus-related mortality, sickness, and suffering of those in long-term care?

As NPR reported:

chartnytnhomedeaths-300x213Nursing home owners and operators have pleaded “poor us” through a lethal 2020. But profit-seeking players in the industry clearly still see rapacious opportunity in long-term care facilities — with residents suffering the consequences.

NPR and the Washington Post both have dug into the results when investment groups or chains acquire and operate nursing homes, and, as the media organizations reported, resident care declined.

The newspaper focused one of its deep digs on long-term care on New Jersey-based Portopiccolo Group, and how it “buys troubled nursing homes and tries to make them profitable,” paying “hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire facilities in Maryland, Virginia and elsewhere,” with little federal, state, or local oversight of its acquisitions.

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