On April 27th, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News reports that more than 70% of healthcare providers do not have sufficient PPE to care for patients. The effects of this will be felt downstream for quite some time. On this date, the global count of positive COVID cases reached three million, the United States reached one million, equaling one third of the entire globe to be reporting positive cases. All this, in the same week as many states are moving to reopen. What does this mean for you? It means, we do not back off on the measures we have put in place to keep safe.
As of today, the US is reporting 56,000 deaths related to COVID. Nursing homes report they account for 11,000 of those deaths. CMS instructs SNFs to continue to follow the strict guidance that include: screening everyone who enters, preventing unnecessary visitation, and allowing individual patient care plans to dictate visiting healthcare workers participation in care. Additionally, alternatives such as remote care and telemedicine should be considered. The focus needs to be to stay diligent with the most vulnerable population.
While CMS has not made a blanket statement regarding guidance for testing all patients and employees in SNFs, some states have begun to make that a requirement. The diagnosis of a positive COVID patient should not prevent admission into a SNF, however, providers who cannot meet the needs of the patients should not accept them. This includes the provision of adequate and appropriate PPE or staffing considerations. It is best for you to document any deficiencies and attempts to obtain PPE or correct staffing deficiencies. We are charged with keeping the most vulnerable population safe. Stay diligent. Stay Safe!