40% of COVID-19 Deaths are Nursing Home Residents – Analysis

No matter where long-term care is delivered it is close and personal. There is no ‘social distancing’ when providing care. COVID-19 is presenting challenges in how care is delivered. Having choice of quality care in the future even more important than ever.

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40% of COVID-19 Deaths are Nursing Home Residents – Analysis
3 Min Read July 12th, 2020

America's oldest residents are facing the brunt of the virus crisis. A Wall Street Journal analysis reports that over 50,000 of those who died due to COVID-19 were residents of long-term care facilities. This is not something that is only impacting the United States.

Researchers at the International Long Term Care Policy Network show the same results in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In those countries, 40.8% of reported COVID-19 fatalities were also in long-term care facilities.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the significantly higher rate of death in nursing homes is that COVID-19 is adversely impacting older people and those with reduced immune systems and comorbid health issues.

Older People and Those with Health Issues Face COVID Death

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says individuals age 65 and older are 26 times as likely to die of COVID-19 than those aged 25 to 54. Those aged 35 and younger represent 0.8% of all COVID-19 deaths. Compare this with 33.1% age 85 and older. Overall, people age 65 and older are the most impacted, representing 80.7% of all deaths.

According to the Wall Street Journal, at least 50,919 died in long-term care facilities. The report says the number could be higher due to delays in reporting from each state. The Journal reports that more than 250,000 residents and staffers at long-term care facilities were diagnosed with COVID-19.

COVID-19 is highly transmissible. With the nature of COVID-19 combined with the congregate nature of long-term care facilities, both staff and residents face additional risk. 

Caregiving is Close and Personal

The nature of caregiving generally involves close and personal contact. There cannot be "social distancing" when providing most long-term care services and supports. The elevated risk of infection is a concern that facilities are now dealing with and addressing.

Most long-term care services are not delivered in facilities. Typically, family members become the first caregivers. Unless a person has Long-Term Care Insurance, the family may seek paid services at home. Generally, nursing homes are the last resort or for those with substantial needs.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) reports that 51% of all Long-Term Care Insurance claims start at home.

Many of those being cared for at home may have also died due to COVID-19 infection. It appears; however, the danger increases in an institutional setting. Being able to stay at home is the preferred way to receive long-term care if possible.

While people need long-term care services at all ages, it increases dramatically with age. The numbers reflect the impact on age with COVID death.

Care at Home is Always Preferable if Possible

Caregivers should be taking additional precautions to limit the risk to both the caregiver and the person receiving care. The problem, however, for many American families is the lack of planning before a need for extended care.

Experts say without some advance plan, most families face a crisis. Decisions get made quickly. The decisions made may not be the same ones you would make had you had an opportunity.

Long-Term Care Insurance provides the resources to obtain quality care at home. If you ever need a facility, you will have the resources to get a quality facility. The policy benefits protect savings and income, giving loved one's time to be family and not caregivers.

Jesse Slome, executive director of the AALTCI, says the best time to buy Long-Term Care Insurance is between ages 52 and 64. But you need to obtain your coverage when you still have good health. Once your health starts going downhill, the available options become diminished.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will make your future need for assistance easier on your family while reducing the adverse impact on your finances. 

Partnership LTC Policies Available in 45 States

Most people assume Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive. In fact, it is custom designed and affordable for many families. If you live in one of the 45 states that offer Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance, you also get additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection. Even a small policy can provide significant help for you, family, and finances. 

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About the Author

Linda Kople is a freelance writer with a personal family history in long-term care. She specializes in aging-related topics such as caregiving, health, and retirement planning. Her experiences and interests drive her to explore and write about the various aspects of aging and health issues.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Check to see if partnership plans are available in your state. Seek the help of a trusted and experienced LTC Insurance specialist. The specialist will be able to shop all the major companies and design a plan that safeguards your savings and income and reduces the stress and burden on your family. Find a long-term care specialist today.

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