Nadia Kiderman on the Impact of COVID-19 on Elder Care

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been at the epicenter of this pandemic. Unfortunately, they house our population’s most vulnerable. The unfortunate reality is that the lax oversight by regulators of these facilities is now coming to haunt their residents. Nadia Kiderman is a well-regarded expert in the healthcare field who consults with nursing homes and similar facilities to help them in enhancing the quality of care they provide their residents. 

According to Nadia, this is an issue that unfortunately was not conceived of in the days prior to this pandemic. Instead, it was a problem laying bare, waiting for a spark to create a monstrous-like cumulative effect. And that’s exactly what the coronavirus has tragically brought. The mortality rate has been awful. And aside from the tragic deaths of its elderly residents, the ability for family members to visit their loved ones in elder-care facilities has certainly been a challenge. While it is certainly no small task for the administrators of any of these facilities to keep family members away, there also needs to be a balance struck in order for the families to recognize the sensitivity that the administrators and nurses are nonetheless exhibiting in doing so. 

There have been a few rather important revelations through this pandemic concerning the utility of technology in the elder-care and nursing home industries. While we have seen technology be utilized by those in ordinary commerce and business to great success in a myriad of different industries, the elder-care industry has been slow to adapt. This of course is not a new phenomenon. 

Unfortunately, the nursing home and assisting living facility industry have been grossly behind the curve in an array of different areas. As documented on her website, Kiderman discusses the importance of the industry recalibrating and adapting to contemporary trends and changes taking place. 

Within the context of the devastation that the pandemic has brought to facilities nationwide, technology has been used to help facilitate communication between family members and their loved ones. iPads have been distributed through the facilities, with nurses and aids helping residents use them in order to help them facetime and communicate with their family through other means, using technology. This has afforded so many families the unquantifiable opportunity to speak to their loved ones who are residents in the facilities, and even to see them with their own two eyes. 

There’s no way of calculating the value that such face-to-face and interpersonal reaction between family members and their loved ones, especially among this absolute chaotic environment that has been created around them. 

It’s also been refreshing to see the way employees of the facilities have shown a readiness and a desire to change the nature of the industry’s operations, in the interest of preserving the health of residents; and potentially even saving lives. If there’s one thing this awful pandemic has taught us, it’s the need for the nursing home industry to dramatically reform its systems, and bring its technological capabilities to the point of being consistent with that of other sectors. Up until now, you’d be fortunate to even find an eldercare facility that had a Yelp page. That needs to change. 

Let this pandemic serve as a wakeup call for regulatory bodies and government agencies, as well as lawmakers, to begin requiring the sort of change in operations to the elder care industry that is so sorely missed and needed. It’s needed not only in the interest of enhancing the residents’ experience, but also in terms of saving their lives. That’s what this tragedy of a pandemic has shown us. 

We thank Dr. Kiderman for joining us today.