There’s no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected residents, healthcare workers, faculty, and staff at nursing homes and assisted livings throughout the country. Not only have we lost family members and friends to this horrific virus, but the effects of isolation, uncertainty, and fear of exposure have also taken their devastating toll. On top of this, the ownership side of nursing homes and assisted livings have also suffered. Throughout the course of the pandemic, occupancy decreased dramatically not only due to Covid deaths, but also because of a decrease in admissions. But after nearly a year and a half, this winter brought us a beacon of warm light in what seemed to be a never-ending tunnel of darkness – the Covid-19 vaccine.
With the arrival of the vaccine, the world is finally beginning to see some kind of normalcy. Restrictions are lifting. People are resurrecting from isolation. This is because the safe and 90% effective (including for the elderly) Covid-19 vaccine is now available in all parts of the country, available for anyone 12 years of age and older.
The arrival of the vaccine and choosing (or not choosing) to get it is a life-or-death situation. What does this mean for nursing homes and assisted livings? Well, a lot.
With nearly 44% of the country fully vaccinated, and daily Covid counts continuing to decrease, the proof is in the pudding (CNBC.com). With minor to no side effects that are in line with receiving many other vaccines, and the assurance of protection from additional Covid strains, nursing homes and assisted livings can benefit from receiving the vaccine in major ways. The benefits are both immediate and long term, physical and emotional.
Isolation has been one of the most detrimental aspects of the pandemic in nursing homes and assisted livings, especially amongst Alzheimer’s patients. A study shows that 13,200 more deaths were caused by dementia than expected, compared to previous years. (TheWashingtonPost.com). That’s 13,200 too many. The ability for these patients to receive vaccines will allow them to see family and interact with other residents in their facilities.
Not to mention the ability to obtain more residents from the ownership side. In-person tours of facilities, meetings with potential residents’ families, and face-to-face contact with faculty and staff provides families with peace of mind. Families will have a higher inclination to admit their loved ones into your nursing home or assisted living.
The Covid-19 vaccine has proved to be one of the great miracles brought to us by science and technology. The benefits of the majority of Americans getting vaccinated is immense, especially for nursing homes and assisted livings. Once these facilities receive the vaccine in larger numbers, we’ll be one step closer to kissing this virus goodbye.