In a small city of rural New Hampshire, a small retirement community is home to over a hundred senior citizens. As COVID-19 expands across the world, leaving no small town untouched, everyone is concerned and taking precautions. The CDC has stated that older adults, particularly senior citizens, and those who have serious underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk for developing symptoms of COVID-19. A retirement community sees this as a direct danger to not only the people who live there, but the employees as well.
Retirement communities, nursing homes, healthcare centers, and other long-term-care facilities across the country have been hit especially hard by COVID-19. According to The Post’s current analysis of both state and federal data, more than 1 in 6 facilities nationwide are now reporting cases of COVID-19 among either residents or staff, with a death count believed to be in the thousands and expected to double in the next month. A database maintained by The Post identifies more than 3,000 of those nursing homes where at least one coronavirus case has been reported.
The past month has seen significant changes in every aspect of the establishment. Management has been developing more ways to keep the residents safe on a day to day basis, and the future is vastly uncertain. One of the most significant precautions that the establishment has taken was to temporarily close down the dining service that the residents eat at. For this community, residents have the option to be on a meal plan and to eat in the dining room or pick up their meal before the dinner service began. The first transition was to close down the dining room and switch to entirely take out meals. The residents were responsible for coming to the dining room to retrieve their take out. That lasted only briefly before the state of New Hampshire announced the shelter in place order, and the establishment began a delivery system of all meals to the residents.
The new delivery system has been set up in order to protect both the residents and employees. It limits interaction between the residents, as the dining room served as a focal point of socialization in the community. It also protects the residents from contracting any symptoms from the outside world that they could receive from visitors or the employees. They call in their dinner orders and later on their meals are brought to their doors, limiting the interaction between everyone. Other precautions include visitors not being allowed in the faculties, for the time being, employees must always wear facial masks and latex gloves if touching anything that a resident must touch, an increase of sanitizing the public facilities (such as door handles, elevator buttons, railings, and so forth), and requiring residents to wear masks in the building as well. Staff must enter the faculty at one entrance, where their temperatures are monitored, and they are asked a series of questions to ensure that no one entering the faculty is knowingly at risk.
Across the country, similar healthcare facilities for the elderly are all taking serious and similar measures for the safety of the residents. A faculty only one state over in Massachusetts, has been devasted at the hands of the virus.
“In the past four weeks, 54 residents at a nursing home in Massachusetts have died after contracting the novel coronavirus and more than 100 others have tested positive as the number of elder care facilities reporting cases of the potentially deadly virus continues to rise nationwide. The Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford, Mass., just northwest of Boston, is one of the latest facilities of its kind to publicly confirm the toll coronavirus has exacted on its residents and employees.”-Keene Sentinel
This is the worst nightmare of any employee or resident of this New Hampshire community. One risk can be responsible for an entire outbreak, and in places like this, it can spread to the entire community unnoticed immediately. Precautions have been set in place to avoid this from becoming their new reality.
Nursing homes and other long-term-care centers across the country have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, which poses greater risks to elderly people and those with underlying health conditions. According to The Post’s recent analysis of state and federal data, more than 1 in 6 facilities nationwide are now reporting cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff, with a death count believed to be in the thousands. A searchable database maintained by The Post lists more than 2,700 Medicare-certified nursing homes with at least one reported coronavirus case.