I just wanted to point out some ongoing misconceptions about care at local nursing homes that have come to my attention during the current crisis.
First, nursing homes are not staffed by registered nurses and do not have a highly trained infection control department. Most workers are paid minimum wage and have minimal nursing training. For most, their only qualification for employment is prior work at other nursing homes.
Second, most nursing homes are simply not able to segregate and isolate residents due to space restrictions, a major consideration in halting the spread of the virus.
Third, nursing homes are not given priority when it comes to supplying staff and patients with personal protective equipment, with breakdowns in sanitation and containment protocols resulting.
Lastly, most residents in long term are not covered by Medicare past the three months after they leave an acute-care hospital and many are covered by Medicaid, which pays only half of the cost of care for a resident.
With two or three residents in each room it is hardly surprising that the coronavirus is spreading so easily. And with staff in nearly constant contact with residents it is little wonder that the level of infection among workers remains so high.
Walt Cousins/Pleasant Hill