Receiving Jacob’s blog yesterday (on Sunday) reaffirmed that these are not normal times. I thought maybe I had missed a whole day … While we are all being asked (?) to stay at home, many of our colleagues are on the front lines working day and night to keep us safe.
There is no denying that we are concerned about the welfare of our seniors. Dr. Samir Sinha, director of geriatrics at Sinai Health System shared in an interview with CBC News that we have not seen the worst of this disease and that long term care facilities are in fact a hot bed for spreading COVID. Dr. Sinha advised that the death rate for those living in nursing homes is about 1 in 3 (33%). He spoke about ‘preventing the virus from getting into the home’ for over 400,000 people living in care homes across the country.
Dr. Sinha was asked about taking our parents out of these settings, and he said “I absolutely would, if you could”. He stressed that this is not a light decision and seniors are in these homes because they could not be cared for at home. Dr. Sinha says that as a result of these unusual times, some changes to Long Term Care homes have been made. These changes include being able to take out a parent from a Long Term Care residence and once the pandemic has cleared, to be able to return them, without losing their place. Similarly, if a placement is offered, families can now postpone making this decision without penalty. Until now once a placement bed was offered, families had between 24-48 hours to accept the bed. If it was not their first choice or if they did not feel ready to accept then they would lose their place in line and have to reapply in 3 month’s time. At this moment, this is no longer the case.
I also wanted to highlight that these changes refer to Long Term Care facilities ( nursing homes) which are provincially funded and not to retirement residences that are regulated under the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA).
If you are considering taking a parent home there are several things to consider including:
-how will you keep them safe?
– what care do they need and how will you be able to provide it?
– there is no certainty that the needed amount of home care staffing (from the province) will be available, can you manage with your own resources?
-who will look after both of you, if you get sick?
There are no simple solutions. The message that continues to resonant loud and clear- is for all of us (who are not on the front lines) to do our part and stay home and support as best we can, from afar.