Nursing home residents were the most vulnerable among us to die from Covid, a combination of the effect of communal living and their susceptibility due to their age. The advent of vaccinations has been a game-changer.
Numbers from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, representing more than 14,000 nursing homes as well as long term housing facilities that care for millions, indicate a 96% decline in the number of Covid cases since the vaccine rollout late last year.
On December 2, 2020 there were more than 30,000 new resident cases. Recent numbers show 1,349.
Brian Levy is with Cambridge Caregivers, a North Texas company that provides in-home care for seniors, says the difference has been night and day.“We are so thrilled to have vaccinations. We got all of our residents vaccinated, and staff, and now we’re working to get all of our families vaccinated,” he says with unrestrained joy. He says they had to work with pharmacies to get their allotment and began with getting all of their residents their shots, and then moved on to staff inoculations. Now they are holding regular clinics to get family members vaccinated so the hugs may commence again!
“Having families with their loved ones is the core of our operation,” Levy says.
There are about 1,200 nursing homes in Texas, and about 9,000 residents.In the first year of the pandemic 20% of deaths from Covid occurred among nursing home residents, and the state imposed strict visitation policies that left elderly people with dementia and Alzheimer’s to suffer alone, unable to comprehend why their family had disappeared. Levy says vaccines have altered the landscape.“It really has given us the ability to welcome families back in to the homes, which is so vital to the operation itself,” he says warmly.
March 23 the state lifted restrictions of visitations and those desperately needed, life-saving hugs and kisses are generously being offered again.
photo: Getty Images