Coronavirus’s effect has been felt for almost two years and will undoubtedly continue for many more. The elderly have been the most affected segment of our society throughout this period. Not only are these individuals more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, but they often need hands-on, close-contact care.
Deciding to relocate into a senior care facility during this time is even more difficult for seniors. We are committed to delivering information and solutions to elders and senior care professionals in our area as a trusted resource for the eldercare community.
Today, we at Integrity RE Solutions would like to discuss the results of our recent study on the effect on seniors and senior care facilities in the wake of COVID-19 variants like Delta. While each experience is unique, general patterns have factual answers that can benefit elders and professionals alike. Addressing anxiety, taking mandates and regulations head-on, and fighting staff shortages are three of the topics we’ll address today.
1st Trend: Fear
Unsurprisingly, seniors and caregivers are more fearful and concerned about joining an assisted living facility than in the past years. As we’ve all navigated this pandemic, there have been so many unknowns.
On the other hand, these same individuals expressed severe worries about not joining a facility, burdening family members, or providing insufficient care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report, “informal or unpaid caring has been linked to higher levels of depression and an increased risk of premature mortality.”
As the epidemic has worn off, improved procedures and resources for elders and those delivering medical care have become accessible. Virginia, for example, has established a COVID-19 Long-Term Care Task Force.
This task force, along with others throughout the nation, is tasked with providing more resources to fight the virus, including testing, vaccines, personal protective equipment, and communication tools. Increased COVID-19 resources and safeguards will reassure elders and tilt the scales in their favor.
2nd Trend: Mandates and Health Restrictions in Senior Care Facilities
This trend, according to our study, was like a double-edged sword. To combat the spread of COVID-19, many assisted living, and long-term care institutions adopted mandatory vaccine and testing requirements, as well as visiting limitations. Several nursing facilities are rethinking their approaches of care to help control the illness and decrease the number of new cases of the highly infectious Delta strain.
While some people expressed their relief at the measures, others who were reluctant to get the vaccination felt ignored and alienated. According to a California newspaper, Brad Heap, administrator of Atherton Park Post-Acute in Menlo Park, stated: “Clearly, the epidemic has been difficult on the whole business, but I’m feeling hopeful today.” The situation resulted in improved contact with residents’ relatives.
Additionally, senior care facilities have implemented precautions such as the use of surgical masks for anyone entering the building, limited visiting hours, and proof of vaccination for family members wishing to remove their face masks inside a loved one’s room.
Integrity RE Solutions has discovered that facilities that successfully balance safety and reasonable measures via good communication have fared the best throughout this pandemic period.
3rd Trend: Shortage of Staff in Senior Care Facilities
The dangers associated with intimate contact and requirements and limitations have affected long-term care personnel as well. Their regular job is tough. At the very least, appropriate care required training, ability, and patience. Many senior care facilities worried that if they mandated vaccinations, some employees would refuse to comply and leave the sector or seek employment with rivals who did not require vaccinations.
This summer, when infection rates decreased, this became a more significant worry. However, when the more infectious Delta strain developed, an increasing number of institutions mandated vaccinations of personnel and patients.
According to the CT Mirror, Maisoncare, a Connecticut-based nursing home business, adopted a vaccine requirement and “lost less than 30 workers out of a 1,700-person staff.”
We’ve heard again from elder care providers that communication, a focus on safety, and appropriate adjustments have made all the difference. The staff in institutions that cannot impose vaccine mandates have welcomed regular testing as an alternative to vaccination requirements.
It’s All About Security and Preparation
Integrity RE Solutions places great value on our customers’ health and well-being. By concentrating on the safety of our community’s elderly and developing a solid plan for their care, we can all feel a bit more secure going ahead in the face of this pandemic and any other obstacles that may arise.