As a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician, I work in skilled nursing facilities. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus has victimized many nursing home residents.
Nursing facilities really are not well equipped to handle a pandemic such as the COVID-19. By design, people are close together and most of them are over 65 years old. Approximate 85% of deaths have occurred in nursing homes in people over 65 years old. Many of them are frail and are not able to fight off the infection.
The New York Times has found the number of people living in or connected to nursing homes who have died of the coronavirus to be at least 7000. Approximate 1/5 of all deaths from the COVID-19 virus in United States has been related to nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. When people are in confined settings, it is far too easy for the infection to be spread from room to room. This reinforces the importance of wearing masks and using screening and cleaning activities to prevent further spread
The other tragedy that has occurred is the necessary social isolation. Personal interaction with family and loved ones is precious to nursing home residents. Phone calls, conversations through the windows, and FaceTime visits are not an equal substitute for personal contact, but go along way to ease loneliness. Caring is the most important part of healthcare.