And we can continue to save lives by providing our services virtually!
The primary goal of all Adult Day Service Programs is, to put it bluntly, to keep people out of the nursing homes and other institutions by supporting members to remain living independently in the community for as long as possible. It is crucial that centers continue to provide these services, even if they are virtual during this time. Being admitted into a nursing home, or even moving into an assisted living facility is rough, at any time, but now, it may be deadly. (Nursing Home Residents May Account for up to 50% of all COVID-19 deaths) Washington Post) Because of this, it is crucial that adult day centers continue to provide these services virtually during this period of social distancing.
Why adult day services, why now?
In a recent New York Times Article (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/us/coronavirus-nursing-homes.html) Betsy Mccaughy, a former liutenant govenor of New York, states, “They’re death pits, these nursing homes are already overwhelmed. They’re crowded and they’re understaffed. One Covid-positive patient in a nursing home produces carnage.”
Outbreaks spread through Assisted Living Communities, and skilled nursing homes like wildfire. In mid-April a full 20% of all deaths related to COVID-19 were from nursing homes.
Although most Adult Day Centers in the country closed their doors to in-center services in mid March, many of them have chosen to to provide services, aimed at ensuring their members continue to be healthy throughout this period. This is accomplished through a system of telehealth and meal delivery. Centers provide their members with daily meals, weekly activity packets, and are available to the members and their caregivers when needed. Center nurses, RNs, mental health workers and other professionals are contacting members, sometimes daily to help ensure that their physical, emotional and cognitive health does not deteriorate. They are working with the caregivers to support them through their feelings of stress and overwhelm. Centers are delivering supplies, such as medications, groceries and hygiene products, to help ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities remain as healthy as possible AND out of institutions, such as ER rooms, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
Although centers may have closed to in-center services, they can remain open, providing virtual telehealth services and more to their members. Funding for these centers and these services is imperative if we are to save the lives of the elderly in our communities.