Vaccines, lifting a lockdown among 2021 hopes

Aristotle said, “Hope is the dream of a waking man.” Socrates said, “Hoped for things are largely, if not entirely, outside our personal control.” The author of The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey said, “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”

 I think celebrating the new year has a greater impact for all of us than in previous “midnight toasts.” As the calendar flips over, we all hope to see effective vaccines, an unlocking of businesses and facilities, a bounce in the economy, an inspired and available workforce, and, well, fill in the blank. What are you hoping for?

Since November 2019, and perhaps earlier, the world changed, and we had to change with it or shrivel up and blow away. We had to learn new terminology—pandemic, lockdown, social distancing, COVID-19 (C-19), cohorting, Lysol’s instructions, coronavirus, cluster, droplet, flattening the curve, PINs, and PPEs. Analysts, health officials and ombudsmen told licensees to have hand sanitizer for dementia residents to use. Facilities had to cope with irate families wanting to visit. Resident isolation had two meanings—no visitors or stay in your room.

What will be the long-term effects of C-19 on the assisted living industry? Upon DSS? Department of Public Health? Upon you, your staff, your residents, and their families? Upon your family? The new year will slowly unravel this mystery. From what we have heard, there will be closures of facilities, but not as many as predicted. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) will likely take the biggest hit, and many have stated there is a 63% chance of closure by mid-2021.

 That will impact RCFEs! With less SNFs, elders will be turning to RCFEs that can accept prohibited health conditions under 2016 law. Are you ready for gastric feeding tubes, tracheotomies, serious infections (C-19, staph, HIV), and stage 3 and 4 pressure injuries? Perhaps, too, under 2016 law, hiring CNAs, LVNs and/or RNs to render care to the more needy resident may be required.

The bottom line is…we do not know the bottom line!