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senior living

Nursing home transparency needs more than Covid-19 case-counting

No understatement, these are very difficult times for nursing homes. First off, thousands of residents have died, and news media organizations are now obsessed with counting and re-counting, totaling up the numbers (more than 10,000 as of today) and then counting some more. So many of the 1.5 million residents of nursing homes were already very frail people, needing help with 3 or more ADLs. 72% of residents are women, most are age 85+, and as noted, 'many also have only a small group of family and friends for support.' Yet there are people who should know better lined up to bash their performance at managing this virus: "If there was any type of senior-care facility that should have been most equipped to manage the COVID crisis, it should have been skilled nursing facilities," said Brian Lee, a former Florida long-term care ombudsman who currently is a member of an advocacy group called Families for Better Care." Right.

Covid-19 – Technology changes accelerate – some a work-in-progress

Note the wave of announcements of 'free' tech services and sea changes. A number of companies popped into my inbox in the past week with announcements of a period of free access to remote care/engagement technologies – including and in alphabetical order CareCentrix, CareTree, Ergo, Eversound, Outpatient, Ready RespondersNurseCaller, Touchtown, StaySmartCare, See You Link and VitalTech. If your firm is in the remote care/caregiving space (health, telehealth, engagement), please comment or email and I will add to this list. And our family doctor’s staff initiated an offer of a Facetime (or Skype or Hangouts or other choice) for a follow-up visit instead of going into the office. Note the other ‘temporary’ change of reimbursement for remote (even telephone) visits, now fitting into the concept of telehealth. The ‘tipping point’ of telehealth is here – and tipping with a suddenness that is unnerving for overstretched vendors and most notably, difficult for providers who may lack the equipment and/or processes to deal with patients remotely, despite the risks to themselves with in-person interaction.

Five technology and health blogs from March 2020

The world is spinning from the events of March 2020. At the beginning of the month, it made sense to publish a Market Overview about tech for older adults that did not link all tech to Covid-19, and by the end of the month every single news item, announced business initiative, investor prediction, startup messaging, university project, and technology topic was only about Covid-19. It’s almost quaint to look at where the month began since publishing the 2020 Market Overview of Technology for Aging on March 5. The technologies noted are as relevant today as they were on March 5 – however, their application as the list of press releases notes, may be different. Telehealth is suddenly as critical as it always should have been. Smart home (and enablement of remote interactions matters more than it ever has.) From the month:

VitalTech Offers Senior Living Facilities Free Virtual Care and Telehealth Platform to Combat COVID-19

03/20/2020

PLANO, Texas, March 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- VitalTech, a rapidly growing market leader in Virtual Care, announced today that it is offering Senior Living and Long-Term Care Facilities free Telehealth access*. This comprehensive strategy allows caregivers, and their residents, full access to the VitalCare® platform. This initiative is implemented through a partnership with the Ziegler Link•Age Funds, in a joint effort to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

Screenshot of VitalCare Family app.

Coronavirus – and the impact on older adults in senior care

Consider the directives aimed at senior living communities. Rant on. The Washington State nursing home deaths and the virus presence in multiple nursing homes have an immediate result. Nursing home visits are now restricted nationwide – and it appears, despite lack of clarity, that also means assisted living – the combination spanning 2.5 million nationally. Most people look at the lock-downs as completely sensible, preventing the spread of the virus to such a vulnerable population.  And worker shortages already plaguing this industry are expected to worsen as workers call in sick, out of fear for themselves or their families. 

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