Though not causing deaths rows like the previous two Covid-19 waves, the surge of the omicron wave still has impacted a severe blow to the Nursing homes all over California State. A nursing home is a place for those patients who neither need to be in a hospital nor can be treated at their home.
Covid-19: Isolation At The Nursing Homes In California
The Nursing home carries skilled and experienced nurses providing 24-hour services to the patients who require short-term care or long-term care. Unfortunately, the strict rules and regulations towards the omicron wave have crippled the structure of these nursing homes in California.
As of January 2022, the Victorian Post Acute has shown 31 omicron positive numbers, but the symptoms being milder does not require hospitalization of the patients. The omicron positive patients, as well as those who are negative, are at the surge of depression, anxiety, and increasing the risk of mortality from other causes due to the high Covid-19 protocols causing less socialization, social isolation, and loneliness.
The nursing home has all the characteristics to become a covid-19 hotspot. But the government’s strict rules and restriction towards these nursing homes results in control over the omicron cases in these nursing homes. But still, the nursing homes in California has accounted for 792 Covid cases in January this year. Fortunately, the deaths are much less than the other waves, thanks to the high motivation towards vaccination campaigns and booster doses.
The Covid-19 protocol for nursing homes includes strict vaccination for visitors and staff members, mandatory masks, visitors & family members must have negative reports before one day or two. These restrictions were applied looking forward towards the surge of omicron wave but have impacted in an unprecedented way directly on the nursing homes, causing a shortage of staff and nurses falling ill or having symptoms. The number of visitors who used to give their services in the nursing home, such as cooking, dressing, bathing, overseeing patients’ medications, has reduced to minimal. Such a protocol has disturbed the structure and working of these homes and directly affects the patients in-house.
One of the reasons behind these strict protocols is the rise of incidental Covid-cases in the patients. One of the factors cited by the doctors is that the workers at such nursing homes used to work at various places for their bread due to low wages, making them more vulnerable to getting the symptoms and transferring them to the patients. After the outrageous first wave of Covi-19, a study was conducted by the California Health Care Foundation regarding the Covi-19 in California’s nursing homes and made the recommendations such as ombudsman organization, resident/friendly advocacy groups, nursing home administration, and quality improvement organizations for a better performance of nursing homes during such Covid waves and strict protocols.
Federal Government has also announced to all health care workers to get fully vaccinated and a coronavirus vaccine booster by February, failing to risk losing their job or getting suspended. California is mandated to be the first state to require the healthcare worker to be fully vaccinated. Moreover, the vaccination rates among health workers and the general population are higher in California. The deadline is coming down, and if the health workers of nursing homes do not get the booster does, they may either lose their jobs or be suspended, which will directly affect the patients and the working of these homes.
As of now, all the Covid-19 protocols are regulated for controlling the surge of omicron. The sooner we get rid of it, the sooner all will be happy because it becomes very hard for the friends and families to see their loved ones over the video call or phone calls.