The coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 has created significant challenges for the entire planet. Infections of COVID-19, a respiratory illness contracted by millions of people, strained healthcare systems and had an outsized effect on nursing home populations. For many of those infected with COVID-19, lingering health effects continue to pose concerns. To support the protection of nursing home insurance, nursing home managers and caregivers must understand the long-term recovery aspects of residents who were infected by the coronavirus.
“Long Haul” COVID Infections
Of the millions of people infected with COVID-19, some people experience effects that last long after the initial infection. Most people recover from the illness within a few weeks; so-called “long haulers” may have symptoms for months. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refers to long-haul symptoms as Post-COVID Conditions. These conditions may vary in their intensity, duration, and combination. While researchers are still trying to unlock the mystery of why certain people experience lingering effects, common long-haul COVID symptoms include:
- Chronic fatigue or tiredness
- Loss of taste or smell
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty in processing thoughts or lapses in concentration (colloquially known as “brain fog”)
- Pain in the joints and muscles
- Organic dysfunction of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and skin
For residents of nursing homes who experience long-haul COVID symptoms, healthcare providers face many challenges in supporting for and caring for these individuals. Residents may already be at higher risk for health complications or have underlying physical or mental conditions that long-haul COVID infections exacerbate.
Supporting Long-COVID Patients in Nursing Homes
Unfortunately for the caregivers nursing home residents depend on, there are still many unknowns when it comes to the lingering health effects of COVID-19. While nursing home insurance is designed to protect against a broad range of risks in long-term care facilities, caregivers and facility managers can supplement these protections with a comprehensive approach to managing residents experiencing the effects of the coronavirus infection.
Best practices for addressing long-haul COVID symptoms include:
- Understanding that depression and anxiety are very real effects for those afflicted by long-haul COVID. Residents experiencing pain, fatigue, and changes in their ability to concentrate or remember details may become withdrawn. Caregivers must make extra efforts to help residents overcome these challenges through direct engagement.
- Taking the time to listen to patient concerns. COVID-19 continues to affect the lives and safety of nursing home residents and their caregivers. Even as the coronavirus pandemic is loosening its grip, residents may have concerns about vaccine availability, safety of vaccines, unusual symptoms or lingering aftereffects, and many other fears. Caregivers have to work hard to demonstrate compassion and support and avoid dismissing complaints, no matter how trivial.
- Supporting nursing home insurance protections with vaccination programs. COVID vaccines are effective and available to at-risk populations. Immunization against diseases is a vital part of managing risks; COVID vaccines should be administered to residents promptly to protect them from developing life-threatening illnesses.
Researchers continue to study COVID-19 and its long-term effects. It may be years before long-haul COVID is fully understood. For now, nursing home insurance serves as a foundational element of risk management. With this insurance and with the compassion and dedication of care providers, at-risk residents are better able to overcome the challenges associated with lingering COVID symptoms.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.