California, New Jersey, and New York have made nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients from hospitals. Nursing home workers and residents fear that the policy is risking their lives.
Original article written by Kim Barker and Amy Julia Harris
Image taken by Grant Hindsley for The New York Times
Published April 24, 2020
According to New York state guidelines, nursing homes must take in patients from hospitals even if they have the coronavirus. Due to a lack of beds in hospitals, several other states have also turned toward nursing homes to relieve the burden on hospitals by forcing nursing facilities to take in patients stable enough to be released. Nursing home residents and advocates fear that this practice will lead to breakouts within nursing facilities. In New York, nursing homes must admit patients deemed “medically stable.” In California and New Jersey, nursing homes are recommended to take in released COVID-19 patients, and refusing to do so may lead to regulatory scrutiny. Due to a lack of protective equipment, staff shortages, and close patient-worker interactions, nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks if coronavirus patients are moved to such facilities. Many nursing homes in New York are already staffed at less than 50 percent. A national survey of 9,000 nursing homes shows that fewer than 10 percent indicated that they are able to take in new COVID-19 patients from hospitals.