Sunday, December 6, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine: "Elderly challenges go well beyond COVID; "Don’t place too many restrictions on telehealth"

From CommonWealth Magazine we share two articles of interest for Franklin: 

Elderly challenges go well beyond COVID

"THE EMERGENCE of promising vaccines to fight COVID-19 is certainly good news, but those older adults on fixed or limited incomes will continue to face serious issues in daily living in a variety of areas.  Many of these issues existed before the pandemic, and some have been made worse as a consequence of the deadly virus.  Older adults, especially those in nursing homes, suffered the highest rates of infection and death from the virus, and those rates were even more disastrous for older adults of color.  The pandemic caused a serious look at the deficiencies in our long-term care system, both institutional and community-based, and most of these deficiencies will remain even after a large portion of Americans have been vaccinated.

In skilled nursing facilities, we’ve learned that older adults should not be forced to live with three or more unrelated elderly in the same room.  We know that nursing home staff are underpaid and often need to work in two or more nursing homes to make a living.  Many staff are also unvaccinated for influenza, and may have the same low rates of vaccination when COVID-19 vaccines are made available.  We’ve also learned that infection prevention and control is an especially weak process in most nursing homes.  These are all factors that made such facilities ripe for attack by COVID-19."

Continue reading the article online

Don’t place too many restrictions on telehealth
"FOR DECADES, Massachusetts has been known for having the best health care in the world. As doctors who’ve practiced medicine for a combined 40 years in the Commonwealth, we have seen firsthand how our state has enjoyed the best hospitals and best doctors and providers to deliver the highest standard of care. Our biggest challenge? How to ensure those exceptional services can be accessed by every patient who needs them.

Then came COVID-19 – which threatened our nation’s health care system like no time in modern history. Instead of collapsing, our health care system reinvented itself. The rapid and effective use of virtual care (telehealth and other services) allowed us to continue to provide care to patients while the threat of coronavirus kept them at a distance. Patients with behavioral health needs, many of which were exacerbated by the pandemic, were able to still see their mental health providers. Patients with acute stroke could get rapid evaluations in a local emergency department but be transferred for advanced care if necessary. Unlike in-person visits to shops, restaurants, and bars which were abruptly cancelled, much needed virtual visits to medical specialists could continue unimpeded. Regular medical care is like car maintenance, when it is postponed or ignored conditions deteriorate rapidly."
Continue reading the article online

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