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Patients vulnerable to COVID-19 in elder care facilities

Finding a nursing home is no easy task. Parties want to find a place that is safe, secure and attentive to patients' needs. Before finding the right place, people might tour multiple locations and conduct research. They may also spend years financially preparing and saving their money.

Unfortunately, all this planning and preparation may still fall short if a facility fails to protect residents. For instance, the recent spread of the new coronavirus has exposed some serious shortcomings in some Colorado nursing home facilities.

"Hotspot of infections"

According to recent reports, elder care facilities have been hit particularly hard by the spread of COVID-19. In Colorado alone, roughly one-third of the people who have died from COVID-19 were residents in an elder care facility.

At any given time, nursing home and other care facilities are susceptible to outbreaks of infection for many reasons, from patients who have compromised immune systems to communal living environments. 

However, the COVID-19 outbreaks have been especially devastating, considering the ease with which the virus spreads and the toll it can take on the elderly.

Infection control deficiencies

Tragically, many care facilities in the state have failed to provide adequate infection control. In fact, at least 25 centers that currently have an outbreak have a history of infection control deficiencies. Such deficiencies could stem from violations including:

  • Failing to wash hands
  • Failing to sterilize equipment properly
  • Failing to disinfect surfaces
  • Failing to remove and dispose of soiled materials
  • Failing to wear proper personal protective equipment

On any day, these oversights could leave residents exposed to infection. During a pandemic, they can be catastrophic.

Finding a safe facility for your loved one

When you are looking for a nursing home for your parent or another elderly loved one, response to a pandemic is likely something you might not have considered until now.

That said, it is essential to look into a facility's history and reputation. Have they been cited for violations of state regulations? Is it clean and welcoming whenever you visit? Does it have adequate staffing levels?

While we can't predict every scenario that might affect our loved ones, we can do our best to find the right facility and start saving for long-term care.

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