“Giving the families information as quickly as possible is critical,” David Lewicki said.
As Connecticut’s nursing homes continue to struggle with personal protective equipment, testing and staffing, Lewicki says quick communication is just as crucial.
“Just understanding how quickly that their health can diminish and that communication with the family to get their head around the situation is vital,” Lewicki said.
Lewicki’s mother died of COVID-19 and his father tested positive at a Seymour nursing home. Lewicki’s mother passed within 24 hours of showing symptoms. Her positive COVID-19 test result came in three days after her death.
Under a new federal mandate that went into effect this week, nursing homes must notify families that their loved ones have tested positive within 12 hours.
“The whole COVID-19 response in Connecticut falls apart without staffing,” Matt Barrett, president and CEO of the CT Association of Healthcare Facilities, explained,
The new mandate comes as nursing home operators are seeing an additional $65 million to help go toward employee wages, bonuses, overtime and shift incentive payments.
“The cost of those staffing agencies is significantly higher under normal circumstances but no costs in nursing facilities are normal during this pandemic, they are all rising dramatically,” Barrett said.
Barrett says many nursing homes are having to refer to pool and out-of-state staffing agencies all while the cost of licensed nurses and staff is going up. Some operators are paying as much as $200 more for licensed staff per shift.
As families like Lewicki’s cope with loss, they hope the continued need for funds and staffing at Connecticut’s nursing homes is heard.
“Businesses will rebuild. Jobs will come back. Investments in stocks will rebound but the deceased through this crisis are not going to come back,” Lewicki said.