2020-10-26 22:11

Nursing home workers say they were kept in the dark as COVID-19 engulfed their facilities. Now uncertainty looms as the pandemic drags on. DHx世界播



Jim Siteman talks to his 98-year-old mother, Anna Siteman through an opening in a window at the Daggett-Crandall-Newcomb Home in Norton, MA on May 9, 2020. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images DHx世界播

吉姆·西特曼(Jim Siteman)与他98岁的母亲安娜·西特曼(Anna Siteman)通过马萨诸塞州诺顿的达吉特-克兰德尔-纽科姆之家(Daggett-Crandall-Newcomb Home)的窗户开口交谈。约翰·特鲁马奇(John Tlumacki)/“波士顿环球报”(The Boston Globe)DHx世界播

*Nursing homes have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. DHx世界播


*Workers in these facilities have encountered myriad challenges, including limited PPE, inconsistent testing, and fear of potential exposure. DHx世界播


*Many have avoided seeing their families and quit side gigs to keep themselves, their residents, and their loved ones safe. DHx世界播


Nursing homes have been especially hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and workers in those facilities have been forced to make some difficult decisions on a professional and personal level. DHx世界播


While nursing homes only make up 1% of the US population, according to theAssociated Press, they account for a significantly larger percentage of COVID-19 infections compared to the overall population. DHx世界播


As of this writing, there are 8.3 million people infected with the coronavirus in the US, and over 222,000 have died. DHx世界播


According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at least 252,939 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in nursing homes nationwide, with an additional 143,848 suspected cases. More than 59,600deaths have been recorded since the week of October 4, the date of the most recent available data. DHx世界播


Tamara Konetzka, a University of Chicago public health professor who has been researching the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes, told Insider at least 80% of all nursing homes have had at least one case. DHx世界播


Konetzka said there's been much progress made since the start of the pandemic, and researchers have now learned that after locking down facilities, staff are one of the key ways the virus enters nursing homes. DHx世界播


"We know when patients are coming in positive from the hospital, but staff come and go daily and no matter how much we test people, it's going to be hard to prevent that," Konetzka said. DHx世界播


Workers were in the dark about the pandemic at first DHx世界播


While cases in these facilities have spiraled, several nursing home workers told Insider, their facilities did not initially tell them what was going on or provide them with adequate information and supplies to keep safe. DHx世界播


Terry Ellsbury has worked at a Michigan nursing home that houses predominately older patients for 23 years, helping them shower and take care of every day essentials.Ellsbury told Insider that in late February and early March, residents began to get sick. She initially thought it was just bad cases of the cold and flu, but when residents had to be transported out of the facility, she began to wonder what was going on. DHx世界播


"I was like 'they're sending too many people out at one time on all three floors.' I was like, something is going on, but we never knew what it was," Ellsbury said. DHx世界播


After a few residents had succumbed to the virus, workers were told they had died of COVID-19, but were still not informed about what the disease, nor were they provided with personal protective equipment, Ellsbury said. It was only after workers became ill during those initial weeks of the pandemic that they started demanding gloves and masks, and other PPE from management. DHx世界播


Emma Woodard works at a nursing home in Minnesota and has COPD, a type of inflammatory lung disease that can cause breathing difficulty. Woodard, who does activities with nursing home patients, told Insider she was frightened at the start of the pandemic but realized it was her only way to earn money. DHx世界播

艾玛·伍达德(Emma Woodard)在明尼苏达州的一家疗养院工作,患有慢性阻塞性肺病(COPD),这是一种可能导致呼吸困难的炎症性肺部疾病。伍达德为疗养院的患者做活动,她告诉Insider,她在大流行开始时很害怕,但意识到这是她赚钱的唯一途径。DHx世界播

"It was really hard because I had to think of me and my family and what the impact would do to me. I was afraid," Woodard said. DHx世界播


She recalled her fear at the start of the pandemic, and lingering worries that she could catch the virus or unintentionally pass it on whenever she interacted with a patient. DHx世界播


PPE and testing to keep staff and residents safe DHx世界播


Woodard is also in charge of ordering supplies like PPE for the nursing home she works in. She explained that while it was a challenge to figure out the necessary amount in the beginning, she felt like her employer was able to order adequate gloves and masks to ensure people were protected. DHx世界播


Both staff and residents in Woodard's nursing home get tested weekly, and they receive their results the following day. In Ellsbury's facility, staff get tested once a week as well but don't learn their results until the following week. Both women said the tests were painful, but said they felt reassurance knowing everyone was getting tested frequently. DHx世界播


"It's stressful because you can't just say, I don't want it. You have to do it. Getting your nose pricked every week, it burns. Sometimes they go too far," Woodard said. DHx世界播


The federal government has made promises to increase aid to nursing homes. Earlier in the summer, FEMA sent a 14-day supply of equipment to nursing homes across the country, however many said the equipment was faulty, The New York Times reported in July. DHx世界播


Woodard said her facility received some of the equipment allocated by the government, describing them as "cheap." She said the surgical masks they received were poorly fitting or would easily break. DHx世界播


"Some of them were too small to where it was hurting the ear," Woodard said. DHx世界播


Others like Suzanne Fabian-West, a nursing home worker in Minnesota, said her facility received some of the supplies. DHx世界播

其他人,如明尼苏达州疗养院工作人员苏珊娜·法比安-韦斯特(Suzanne Fabian-West)说,她的疗养院收到了一些物资。DHx世界播

"We did get some supplies that I was told were government supplies. And that was a joke. They must have cleaned the basement out. The plastic on them was so old that it cracked when you touched it. They were outdated and completely and totally inadequate. I can't believe that they sent them to us," Fabian-West told Insider. DHx世界播


Workers sacrificed additional income and family contact DHx世界播


West is among the many who had to adjust her personal routine due to the pandemic. Fabian-West used to work additional jobs, like playing music or working at a flower shop, for extra income. She has since stopped her additional gigs, losing up to $2,000 a month. DHx世界播


"In addition to not being able to do it because of restrictions, I also would not want to do it because I'm afraid of bringing that virus to the vulnerable adults that I take care of and work with," she said. DHx世界播


But beyond the personal toll, Fabian-West said the pandemic has made it harder to do her job and interact with residents. She does life-enrichment activities with residents, many of whom cope with conditions like dementia, so it's difficult to explain to them what's going on. DHx世界播


"It's been five months of not having that and people being quarantined to their units or their rooms and when they're unhappy, everyone's unhappy. They don't want to stay in their rooms. They don't want to keep a mask on, they don't want to stay six feet apart. They want to talk to their neighbors and friends. They want their family to visit. So there's definitely more depression. There is a lot more frustration among the residents and the staff," she said. DHx世界播


The pandemic has also meant that she's not able to bring in volunteer instructors for large group activities as she might have before. DHx世界播


"It is very difficult to do; we can't force residents to keep a mask on, especially people with dementia behaviors. At best, we keep people spread apart and try to do activities on each unit as opposed to each floor. So we're bringing less people together, which makes three or four times more work for the department," she said. DHx世界播


While she gets tested regularly, Fabian-West says she still worries about catching COVID-19 or infecting residents because she doesn't trust that a negative test result truly means someone is free from the virus and could unknowingly spread it. DHx世界播


"Naturally it's scary, but my fear is the same every day when I come in. With a virus that can be virtually undetected as far as symptoms, everybody talks about screening and testing. Well, how much of this testing are false negatives, false positives. I don't trust it," Fabian-West said. DHx世界播


Kontetzak said that in area where the virus is widespread, it's important to test staff twice a week, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DHx世界播


"If you haven't had a case for a while, or if you're not in a hotspot it doesn't have to be quite as often," she said. DHx世界播


Testing has been a fundamental part of ensuring the virus doesn't spread in these facilities, especially with workers who may work in more than one nursing home, Yvonne Slosarski, communications coordinator for the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 chapter, told Insider. DHx世界播

服务员工国际联盟当地1199分会的沟通协调员伊冯·斯洛萨斯基(Yvonne Slosarski)告诉Insider,检测一直是确保病毒不会在这些设施中传播的基本部分,特别是在可能在多家疗养院工作的工人。DHx世界播

Slosarski said some of the issues contributing to the spread are actually longstanding, and they have been exacerbated by the pandemic, such as workers having limited sick days or facilities being short-staffed. DHx世界播


She recalled an incident where one worker caught COVID-19 at work and was off-duty for six weeks to recover. And because she didn't have enough sick days, she had to file for unemployment while she was trying to recover from the virus. DHx世界播


Slosarski, whose organization represents over 2,000 members in long-term care facilities in 70 locations in the Maryland and Washington, DC, area said it has been helpful that Maryland implemented mandatory weekly testing for nursing home workers. DHx世界播


"Testing was a huge problem, even when it was state-mandated. Several institutions just either weren't doing it or the results were not getting back for months," Slosarski said. DHx世界播


"One person found out that she had been COVID-19 positive a month prior when she took the test and the whole time she had been going to work and also caring for her children," she said. DHx世界播


The Herald Mail reported in August that in some facilities, test results were not coming back until weeks later. The newspaper also reported facilities were struggling to take on the cost of weekly testing after Maryland stopped paying for it in August. DHx世界播

“先驱邮报”(Herald Mail)在8月份报道称,在一些设施中,检测结果要到几周后才会出来。该报还报道,在马里兰州8月份停止支付每周测试费用后,设施正在努力承担每周测试的费用。DHx世界播

The Trump administration announced in September that it plans to ship 150 million rapid coronavirus tests to states. Nursing homes were slated to be among the first to receive these rapid tests, which could give results within minutes. However, some experts have warned they may not be as reliable as standard COVID-19 tests, The New York Times reported. DHx世界播


As cases across the US continue to rise, fear and worry remain for those living and working in nursing homes. DHx世界播


"Nursing homes are going to be at risk, given their setting, given that it's a congregate environment with older adults who have underlying health conditions, and given that they need hours of hands-on care each day," Konetzka said. DHx世界播


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