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Skilled nursing facilities, sometimes referred to as nursing homes, provide comfort to thousands of community members who need ongoing care.

 

They also serve as reassurance and support to nursing home caregivers who continue to care for these vulnerable patients and their loved ones.

 

As reported by Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio and other agencies across the Greater Cincinnati region, the coronavirus or COVID-19 has been especially difficult for the most vulnerable members of our community – which often includes seniors and those in need of physical rehabilitation.

 

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) strive to work toward a common goal of positive patient outcomes, developing cohesive and custom treatment plans and partnering with patients in accomplishing therapy goals in a positive and consistent manner.

Carespring is an example of skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities serving the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky areas providing care for seniors and those in need of rehabilitation services. Like other SNFs across the region, they employ experienced teams of licensed therapists educated in cutting-edge, professional care that engages patients on a personal level.

 

Snapshot: Carespring at the front lines

Amid the earlier days of the local coronavirus outbreak response, The Health Collaborative’s member Carespring received confirmation from a Northern Kentucky hospital that a Carespring patient had tested positive for COVID-19. The evening prior, a team member had also tested positive, triggering immediate intervention from local and state health departments.

Praise has been strong for the team’s infection control plan and the facilities’ implementation of the mountains of guidance received. Even Federal agencies are noticing – a recent CMS Infection Focus Survey has brought acclaim to the work being done in these local SNFs. All governing agencies have verified that their guidance was implemented and operationalized as soon as it was distributed by the agencies.

 

Important to note is that nursing home patients are being protected following CDC, CMS, and state health department guidance. This virus is highly infectious and difficult to detect. It has been reported that 25-50% of people infected are asymptomatic, which is why social distancing has proven so important.

 

In the healthcare world, social distancing is difficult to achieve while providing direct patient care. Carespring and many of its peers proactively implemented facility-wide usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) early in the pandemic, including masks for all team members, citing CDC insight that healthcare workers wearing this PPE are at low to no-risk for contracting the virus.

Proactive and prepared

Carespring and peer facilities continue to screen patients multiple times daily for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including changes in temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. However, despite the vast precautions that all healthcare providers and community members are employing, COVID-19 cases will be inevitable and we must all remain vigilant in following social distancing guidelines. 

 

In order to keep vulnerable populations safe, best practices have proven that broad COVID-19 testing is necessary before sending patients to community healthcare centers in order to prevent the spread of the virus. These centers are home to their patients, and caregivers are diligently following infection control processes to keep them as safe and healthy as possible. Funding for preadmission testing is being sought region-wide and we all need our communities to continue to practice social distancing and follow stay-at-home orders. The most vulnerable among us are depending on it.