When COVID-19 Hits Long-Term Care: A Major Health Concern
Residents in NJ long-term care (LTC) facilities comprise only 1% of the NJ population, but sad to say, in the early part of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 alone, LTC covered 40% of the state’s COVID-19 mortality rate (Washburn, 2020). With a strong virulence, the effects of COVID-19 can be deleterious to the vulnerable population, especially the elderly with multiple co-morbidities and the immunocompromised.
Target Population: Living in Bergen County, the focus was on the residents of the 62 LTC facilities in Bergen that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
As of 2020 in New Jersey (World Population View, 2020)
• 1,376,863 (20%) of the residents are seniors (65 years old and older).
• There are 96,162 veterans aged 65 to 74 and 109,473 veterans aged 75-year-old or older.
• New Jersey gender ratio, 51.18% female, 48.82% male
As of 2016 in the United States:
• There are 15,600 nursing homes with 1.7 million licensed beds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016)
Measurement of Illness or Disease:
• Leading causes of death (cause-specific mortality) as of 2016, arranged accordingly: Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, septicemia, kidney disease, influenza, pneumonia (New Jersey Department of Health, n.d.).
• In the United States (as of April 25, 2021), there have been 31,883,287 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 569,272 deaths (CDC, 2021, April 25).
• In New Jersey (as of April 25, 2021), there have been 865,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 123,186 probable cases and 22,788 confirmed deaths (The State of New Jersey, 2021).
Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Interventions to Address the Concern
Stanhope and Lancaster (2018) emphasized the role of evidence-based practice as a part of quality improvement measures. Health care professionals must remember that quality health care must be care that is: Effective, safe, timely, client-centered, equitable, and efficient (p. 293); and EBP can make that possible!
EBP has evidently transformed modern health care. It has acted as the cornerstone of high-quality care as it bridges research evidence with clinical practice. Because of EBP’s strong research-based foundation, the LTC facilities should formulate and adopt EBP guidelines to assist practitioners in making appropriate decisions in this COVID-19 crisis. The following EBP standards can be adopted and implemented by the facilities:
- Formulation, review, and update of facility’s emergency preparedness plan (New York Department of Health, 2020) to avoid “management pitfalls, thereby improving disaster response planning” (Heide, 2006, p. 34).
- Optimization of minimal personal protective equipment (PPE) to address shortage through “contingency strategies” such as management of proper ventilation systems, minimizing patient contact, reprocessing of re-usable PPEs, extension of the use of respirators “beyond single patient contact” (CDC, 2020). Staff must be educated to observe proper handwashing to minimize transmission of pathogens through the reusable PPE (i.e., N-95) (Fisher & Shaffer, 2014). Extended use is better than reuse (Fisher & Shaffer, 2014).
- Employees presenting signs/symptoms must stay home. The CDC (2020) recommends that affected employees must self-isolate at home until: (1) “It has been at least seven days since their symptoms started; they never had fever or they have not had a fever for the prior three days without use of fever-reducing drugs (i.e., Tylenol, ibuprofen); and their overall illness has improved” (p. 2).
- Strict implementation of social distancing principles, such as the isolation of people presumably infected; tracing the people who got in closer contact with the infected; quarantining of persons who were exposed or who are symptomatic; closure of public places including schools and some offices; and modification of policies related to close contact with people (i.e., lines, etc.) (Mathani et al., 2020).
- Facilities must have back-up plans for patient care should there be a shortage of staff. Some facilities seek help from staffing agencies to support the remaining staff and promote continuity of care in their health system. Research shows that an inadequate manpower can increase patient mortality rate (Ashe, 2018).
- Visiting restrictions to prevent direct contact and transmission.
Type of service: Academic paper writing
Type of Assignment: Research Paper
Subject: Healthcare & Medicine
Number of sources: 12
Academic level: Undergraduate
Paper format: APA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: US English