Should you remove a loved one from a nursing home amid the pandemic?

Posted at 12:38 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 16:54:18-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Nursing homes in the Commonwealth and across the nation have become a hotbed for the spread of COVID-19.

The Virginia Department of Health says more than 1,000 people have died in nursing homes in the Commonwealth since March, which is 62 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths.

That spread through elder care facilities and the recent surge in cases, may have families tempted to remove their loved ones to keep them safe.

"It is really a tough question to answer there is no easy answer or single answer," said Randi Chew with the Penisula Agency on Aging.

She says there is a long checklist to consider:

  • Why did they go in the first place?
  • Is your home equipped adequately for care?
  • Who will provide medication or wound care if needed?
  • Is there a risk of your loved one getting COVID-19?

"Do you have the bed they need, the wheel chair or shower chair, elevated toilet? Can you provide the care they need whether it's two hours or a day," Chew asked. "If you are going to work and out and about in the community and coming home, are you ensuring your loved one wont be exposed to virus?"

Chew further stressed that there is no 'one size fits all' solution. Federal law does allow families to take that step, but it may not always be the safest options, even amid a crisis.

"Talk to the facility your loved one is at, and share your concerns," she stated.

The Peninsula Agency on Aging can assist with long term decision making and other care.