New information was recently published by CDC on a nursing home outbreak in March 2021. This outbreak was spread by one unvaccinated worker, infecting 26 residents and 20 employees, with three deaths.
How effective was the vaccine
The vaccine was not 100% effective, and showed better results than the unvaccinated, but has one major flaw, the employees. A large percent of the employees did not accept the offer to be vaccinated, resulting in increasing the likelihood of infection and death of the residents in poor condition.
Out of the three residents who died, two were not vaccinated. 18 of the 26 infected residents were vaccinated and four of the 20 employees infected were vaccinated. 75 of the total 83 residents were vaccinated and 61 of the 116 employees were vaccinated.
How workers increase the spread of COVID-19
Most health care personnel do not quit their personal life and leave their beliefs at the door for their career. Workers have more contact with other people when leaving work, bringing in that contact to the residents at the nursing home. There is always less incentive when compared to higher paid healthcare workers. The average pay for nursing home workers is $16. There is also no liability for them to face which may deter them from acting inappropriately or caring more about the patients.
The healthcare workers are also younger and healthier, leaving them to care less about their personal health. This leaves them to be able to not accept the COVID-19 vaccine. There are also other influences to not getting the vaccine that mixes with their security in their personal health. A majority of the reason they will not get a vaccine is based on their political beliefs. This leaves some residents and family members of the residents to believe there is an act of negligence from the workers by putting the residents at risk because of personal reasons.
How to protect nursing home residents from workers spreading COVID-19
[insert bed sores being the spot of negligence along with other ways to check]
Understand the vaccine ratio
A simple way to know how susceptible a nursing home is to a breakout is to simply ask one of the workers or call the front office to see how many people are in the facility and are vaccinated. It is specifically important to know how many caregivers are vaccinated in order to determine how likely they are to bring in the disease. Simply mentioning the ratio and bringing up concern on how many are vaccinated will put more motivation on the staff to increase the amount of vaccinations.
You can also ask if only vaccinated staff handle or care for your loved ones. This will put the staff out of their way but simply mentioning it can leave the thought in the back of their head and potentially put your loved one in the hands of staff that is less likely to spread COVID-19.
Keep in contact with your loved ones
Keeping in contact with your loved ones that live in the nursing home is one of the best ways to understand the situation in order to interview when necessary. You will be able to gain more information like how the staff actually act towards your family member. Look into wearable devices, devices that can easily call and monitor your family member, or sensor devices that alert you when they need help and can’t get to a phone.
By checking on them regularly you are able to intervene and spot any negligence or signs of abuse which can point out whether or not a worker cares about the health of your family member. Bed sores are one of the best ways to spot abuse in a nursing home without your loved one openly telling you, especially if a worker is around. There are some protocols for meeting the residents but as nursing homes are changing protocols, you will be more easily able to spot these red flags.
Observe procedures and protocols
By listening in and asking about the procedures and protocols in the facility, you will be able to determine if the facility and staff are taking the right precautions and have the best outbreak procedures. This is where most nursing homes fall short. Nursing homes normally have less effective infection control policies than hospitals.
Know how many personnel are on staff
By knowing how many personnel are working any given hour and how many they have employed, you will be able to tell how many they have compared to residents and if they are ever understaffed. Understaffing can lead to several problems like lack of focus on one resident who needs it or workers having to come in when they are sick and the facility is understaffed.
Do background checks and reviews
By simply doing searches online and asking other families about their experiences you can find out a lot about how the nursing home operates and what staff they employ. This will allow you to determine if there will be any negligence or lack of care for the well being of your family member.