The stark headlines regarding COVID-19 infections and deaths in the nation’s nursing homes are stacking up. It may be difficult to see the increasing cases on the news if your loved one is living in a nursing home or long-term care facility. You might also feel like you’re at a crossroad if a loved one needs care and support, once they are discharged from the hospital. There are options out there to help families make the best decision and have peace of mind. COVID-19 is causing many families to think outside the box to find flexible, robust methods of care that protect the health and well-being of their loved ones.
How dangerous is the situation at nursing homes around the country as COVID-19 takes hold? The CDC makes it clear that “nursing home populations are at high risk of being affected by COVID-19.” The numbers that we’re seeing coming out of all 50 states are confirming this idea. Sadly, 35 percent of all COVID-19 deaths so far have occurred at long-term living facilities. States like Minnesota have confirmed that “81 percent of recorded COVID-19 deaths” have occurred at nursing homes.
Unfortunately, we are seeing that a facility setting creates the perfect environment for a virus to spread like wildfire. This has many wondering if a skilled nursing facility is indeed the right choice for their loved ones. You may be wondering if home care is even an option and if your loved one will receive the appropriate level of care. The good news is that we don’t have to choose between giving our loved ones the expert care they need and keeping them from potentially harmful group settings. Let’s discuss why home care should be an option when considering care.
Home care is indeed an option that provides the “best of both worlds” for both seniors and their families. This is true in any season. However, the benefits of thorough, professional home care have only increased now that care facilities and nursing homes are at peak vulnerability for COVID-19. Here are some of the ways that home care can enhance the health and lives of older adults who aren’t capable of living entirely independently.
The research is in on home-based care! One study shows that patients experienced significant improvements in general health, physical health, and psychological health when evaluated 60 days following the start of care. Home-based care has been proven to maintain and improve the functional ability of patients.
Home care is centered on allowing aging adults to thrive in environments that are comfortable and familiar. There is no need for a significant and startling “transition” when care is provided at home. Generally, a person receiving care from visiting health professionals can maintain a very usual schedule as they deal with health issues or limitations. Assisted living facilities are facing the challenge of a lifetime as they try to maintain care standards while also mitigating risk stemming from COVID-19. Unfortunately, this means that residents are often being confined to their rooms or being prohibited from gathering. These strict guidelines can feel very limiting for older adults who have lived independently for their entire lives.
Tight restrictions on movement and activity can be very upsetting and disconcerting for aging adults. What’s more, the situation can be terrifying and stressful for aging adults who may already be experiencing elements of cognitive decline that make it difficult for them to understand the reasoning for the changes in procedure. A home-based approach to care allows an older adult to travel freely within their own home and yard without risk.
Being at home during the COVID-19 pandemic provides an aging adult with the ability to self-isolate safely. Unfortunately, this is virtually impossible to do in a facility with a certain number of people per square foot. It is common for many care facilities to house patients with roommates. Additionally, dozens of staff members are entering and leaving the building on a constant rotation. Home-based care allows aging adults to mitigate risk significantly by only coming into contact with a single care provider per visit.
It’s a scary time to be “out in the world” as we all face the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, living in a group facility if you are medically vulnerable runs counter to the idea of social distancing. Home provides privacy, comfort, and protection from the general population.
A visiting caregiver can provide dedicated, one-on-one attention. This builds up an environment of trust where a care receiver can express their needs, ask questions, and make requests for personalized care. Family members are also able to take active roles in making decisions regarding care and lifestyle.
Residents in nursing homes and long-term facilities are experiencing unprecedented restrictions for engaging with the outside world. Many people are restricted from visiting loved ones at care facilities across the nation. A family member who is receiving care at home has the advantage of being able to visit with family and friends from a safe distance.
Many families find that home-based care is a more affordable solution. Families also have control when it comes to making decisions regarding the frequency of visits and specific care strategies. Patients receive only the care they need to thrive and be comfortable based on their individual needs!
Yes, it’s time to rethink the way we handle elderly care as the nation struggles to protect its most vulnerable citizens from COVID-19. Home care is a solution that offers many benefits, not to mention comfort, to the senior population. Many are now looking at this robust, empowering option with fresh eyes in light of COVID-19. Allowing seniors to go without care is not an option. That’s why home care is becoming a desirable and convenient solution for seniors and their families. Have you explored how home-based care can improve quality of life and keep your loved one safe, healthy, and thriving?
For more senior insights, head back to the My Nurse Family blog.