All around the nation, coronavirus left a trail of tragic deaths in its wake. Nowhere is that more true than nursing homes, where 36% of coronavirus deaths occurred. That’s hundreds of thousands of elderly Americans and their caretakers the world will never see again.
While the pandemic was especially dangerous for older Americans and those with health conditions, some care facilities’ policies made the problem worse. Healthy residents were forced to share rooms with those who’d tested positive for coronavirus, ineffective antibiotic cocktails were prescribed to prevent a viral infection, and banning visits from family members did not have the desired impact as nursing home workers became vectors for disease transmission. Thanks to these failures, half of Americans perceive nursing homes in a worse light than they did pre-pandemic.
Despite their bad reputation, nursing homes will remain necessary as the US population ages. But due to falling occupancy and rising costs, many facilities are on the brink of closure. 65% are operating at a loss, and 25% more have a margin of under 3%.
If nursing homes want to survive, they need to adapt to changing expectations. One such expectation relates to new technology; over half of those looking for a nursing home want either an onsite physician or telemedicine available. Telemedicine is an innovation that will stay with healthcare long after the pandemic. Furthermore, disinfection can no longer be confined to the night shift. Cleanliness is on people’s minds more than ever now. Consistent use of a one-step multi-surface cleaner (cleaning technology that has gained prominence) could reduce healthcare-associated infections by up to 85%. That has benefits beyond COVID-19 as it can lower sepsis and MRSA carrier rates, two diseases common in nursing homes.
Disinfect the facility, disinfect the facility’s reputation. That’s what nursing homes need.
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Last Updated on March 8, 2021.