In Frenzy to Empty Hospitals for Doomsday Model Predictions UK and NY Wreaked Mass Death on Care Homes
The sky-is-falling hysteria kills. Instead of protecting the most vulnerable the authorities helped infect them
A Government diktat that NHS hospitals should move hundreds of elderly patients to care homes has been branded “reckless” and blamed for the homes’ soaring coronavirus death rates.
In two damning policy documents published on 19 March and 2 April, officials told NHS hospitals to transfer any patients who no longer required hospital level treatment, and set out a blueprint for care homes to accept patients with Covid-19 or who had not even been tested.
Analysis by the Telegraph suggests that the rate of coronavirus deaths accelerated more than twice as fast in care homes than in hospitals in the week beginning 7 April – two and a half weeks after the first policy document was published.
The number of Covid-19 deaths in care homes was estimated by Care England to have reached 7,500 a week ago, the Government is under pressure to start publishing a daily tally of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes.
Under the government guidance, patients who tested positive for coronavirus were allowed to be sent from hospitals to care homes. The second document states that “Negative tests are not required prior to transfers / admissions into the care home.”
It added that coronavirus patients could be “safely cared for” as long as care home staff adhered to certain procedures, but that patients who had not been tested and showed no symptoms could be cared for “as normal”.
A Whitehall official told the Telegraph that the policy to offload hospital patients was designed as a “stiff broom” to free up capacity in hospitals.
But care providers on Friday accused the Government of “reckless” behaviour which had “significantly” increased the number of coronavirus deaths in care homes.
Dr Jamie Wilson, founder of Hometouch, which provides care to people in their own homes, said: “I’m astonished at the lack of foresight of these policies. To mandate that care homes should take back Covid-positive patients with such a high risk of cross infection and high mortality rate in vulnerable residents seems unfathomable.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Social care is on the frontline of our fight against coronavirus and the safety of staff and residents is our top priority.”
The spokesperson added that they had updated the rules so that all care home residents discharged from hospital will be tested.
Source: The Telegraph
Of all the missteps in the early days of the coronavirus crisis, New York state’s Health Department may have committed the worst: ordering nursing homes to accept residents who tested positive for COVID-19.
Instead of quarantining the folks most vulnerable to the disease, the state encouraged its spread: 85 percent of the state’s confirmed deaths from the bug are people over 60, with nearly a quarter of all corona fatalities coming in nursing or adult-care facilities — and at least 2,210 such deaths tallied in the city.
And when asked why these residents and workers weren’t better protected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo answered Wednesday, it “wasn’t our job.” It was up to privately run homes to keep infected people isolated; if they needed help, the governor magnanimously offered, they should’ve asked.
No. It was up to the state to contain the spread. That’s why visitors have been banned from nursing homes since the start of the outbreak.
As best we can tell, Dr. Howard Zucker, the state’s health commissioner, made his order so these patients could be released from stressed hospitals — but that doesn’t make it any less callous.
At the least, the state should now dedicate a few already-contaminated homes to COVID-19 cases, if not set up some special facilities like the one in the Javits Center.
Instead, the state has allowed casualties to mount, with some homes even having to leave the dead in their rooms for lack of a place to store them.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Zucker claims the nursing homes are equipped to protect and segregate the corona-stricken. But critics such as Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) report that many lack the equipment, trained staff and/or protocols to control it. He explains: “The staff, the families, everyone is telling me there’s completely a lack of support and they don’t have the necessary PPE [personal protective equipment] to be safe.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, has been sending coronavirus patients to the city’s public nursing home on Roosevelt Island — where staff and local officials say the virus is spreading to its vulnerable, high-risk residents. Many are wheelchair-bound and/or chronically ill. Wrong place to be in tune with the governor, Mr. Mayor.
But it’s Cuomo who really needs to act. “I am wondering who will hold Gov. Cuomo accountable for the deaths of so many older people due to his reckless decision,” Arlene Mullin, whose mom died of the virus in a New York home, writes to The Post’s Michael Goodwin.
Source: NY Post