Nadia Kiderman has been a staunch advocate for reforms in the elder care industry for many decades. As we all know by now, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a myriad of both foreseeable and unforeseeable challenges to the elder care business, and the healthcare industry more broadly. Of course, some of these challenges couldn’t have been anticipated; and for that reason there are some that will be willing to cut some slack to nursing home operators, their staffs and administrators.
But the reality is that throughout the healthcare industry no healthcare providers could have been possibly been more ill-equipped for the crisis that has been the Coronavirus than the elder care industry. Whether it be Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities or others, the staffs, operators and their executive teams simply did not have the proper protocols in place to at least mitigate the type of damage that inevitably was caused by this pandemic.
The reality is that there has been very poor oversight by government regulators and agencies of the elder-care industry for decades. As we’ve seen the Coronavirus pandemic wreak the level of havoc it has, leading to an untold amount of fatalities among the residents in these facilities. There are basic fundamental protocols that should have been in place in these facilities proceeding the pandemic’s commencement.
As Nadia Kiderman has written in The Jerusalem Post, there were no communication channels developed in the days, months and weeks proceeding this pandemic that would have allowed for effective communication between residents and members of their families; while still ensuring that proper social distancing measures and guidelines were complied with. Imagine being a family member who can no longer visit your loved one in one of these elder care facilities for this long, due to the series of challenges this pandemic has presented?
Of course, the residents are themselves are in a high risk category for contracting the virus, given their old age, which makes them extraordinarily vulnerable to the virus. We’ve all seen and read the data on this matter. And of course, as a consequence of that, facilities were not allowing family members into their facilities to visit their loved ones, so as to comply with the social distancing requirements laid out.
But that’s no excuse for facilities to not have put certain procedures in place that would nonetheless have facilitated communication via technology and a number of digital and social platforms between patients and their loved ones. Sure there are nursing homes that are now using Facetime, and providing their residents with iPads to allow them to communicate and even see their loved ones. But why was something so basic not already in place programmatically or otherwise prior to the start of this pandemic.
One has to ask reasonable questions for example why it is that such basic and rudimentary protocols were not in place before the start of this pandemic. Can the nursing home industry and elder care industry more generally really afford to persist being this backward technologically and otherwise? It is long past due for their to be real and meaningful reforms to this industry which continues using antiquated tools and programs to cater to our population’s most vulnerable.