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Nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly are stockpiling masks and thermometers, preparing for staff shortages, and screening visitors to protect a particularly vulnerable population from the coronavirus.
In China, where the outbreak began, the disease has been substantially deadlier for the elderly. In Italy, the epicenter of the virus outbreak in Europe, the more than 100 people who died were either elderly, sick with other complications or both.
The federal government is now focusing all nursing home inspections on infection control, singling out facilities in cities with confirmed cases and those previously cited for not following protocol. You can also get Skilled Nursing Facilities Billing Solutions & get Billing, Training, & Consulting online.
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Federal rules already require the homes to have an infection prevention specialist on staff, and many have long had measures in place to deal with seasonal flus and other ailments that pose a higher risk to the elderly.
Even so, facilities’ response to the coronavirus has varied across the country.
But elder care centers are posting signs urging visitors to stay away if they have symptoms, and are looking into alternate ways for families to connect, such as through video chats.
The nursing homes also have purchased extra thermometers in case they need to check visitors’ temperatures and stockpiled preventive supplies, including medical masks, protective eyewear and gowns.
In the laundry rooms, they are making sure to use enough bleach and heat to kill any lingering virus germs.