Single Rooms Would Have Prevented 31% of Deaths in LTC Facilities.

Read Time: 2:44
Published: May 3rd, 2021
Single Rooms Would Have Prevented 31% of Deaths

An international study shows that many people would have survived the pandemic had they been in private rooms in long-term care facilities. Simulations based on this research found that 31% of coronavirus deaths of people living in long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada, could have been prevented had the residents been living in a private room.

In one of those "duh" moments, this research shows that private rooms would have reduced COVID-19 infections and deaths in long-term care facilities. It underscores the need to have a plan that will help you stay at home when you need care in the future. 

According to the study, the outbreaks in Ontario during the first wave of COVID-19 "were not uniformly distributed." The research showed 86% of infections occurring in 10% of homes." 

Skilled Nursing News reported the primary determinant of nursing home outbreaks in Ontario — as in the U.S. — was the extent of COVID-19 circulation in the surrounding community based on study data.

Less Infection – Less Death

The simulations showed single rooms would have prevented 31% of the infections and 31% of deaths for all Ontario long-term care residents. However, 30,000 additional private rooms would have been necessary for this to occur.

However, not only is the lack of private rooms a concern, but staffing is a concern. In Illinois, a House committee is looking into this problem. A review of the amount of staffing and their training is being reviewed.

Rep. Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago) says short staffing is the root cause of these problems in facilities. She emphasized residents have been experiencing issues during the pandemic but claims the facilities aren't reporting those problems to the state.

Lack of Preparedness in Canada (and elsewhere) Part of the Problem

In Ontario, Canada, the Auditor General is releasing a report evaluating their response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. It will list a litany of difficulties that contributed to the lack of preparedness.  

Several concerns are noted, including overcrowding, offloading hospital patients into these already overcrowded facilities that were already struggling with COBID-19. Plus, understaffing, and critical staffing shortages as the pandemic progressed are among the challenges.

Vaccine Helping

The COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Auditor General, have reduced the outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. In the United States, deaths in long-term care facilities are now at a record low. 

Operation Warp Speed started in December 2020, delivered vaccines to U.S. nursing homes, and as a result, fully vaccinated over 1.4 million residents and over 1 million staff who work in those facilities.

Still, many families and care recipients prefer to remain in their own homes and avoid facilities if possible. However, many family members are unable to provide the appropriate care, and paid care is expensive. Those with little or no income and assets end up in Medicaid facilities with the most staffing issues compared to private pay facilities. 

Unless a person owns Long-Term Care Insurance, in-home care or assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care must be paid out-of-pocket. The costs are a significant drain on income and assets. 

While more and more people are purchasing LTC Insurance at younger ages, if a person needs care now and they do not have insurance, their options become more limited.

Editor's Note

The virus crisis is an example of unexpected situations that substantially impact health, families, and finances. We experience changes in our health, body, and mind as we get older. Advances in health care allow for greater longevity. 

The problem with longevity is the greater risk of needing long-term health care and its consequences on both your family and assets. You do not want to place the future responsibility of caregiving on your family. Self-funding future care is very costly and adversely impacts lifestyle and legacy.

The solution for many families is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. In 2020 the major insurance companies paid over $11.6 Billion in benefits, much of it for in-home care. However, you must have a plan in place before your health start changing. Ideally, that is when you are in your 40s or 50s.

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