• Kay Runyan

Inequities in nursing homes

In my first blog I talked about my brother's passing. He had no contact with relatives except through a window where a conversation was not possible. This was a three-month long torture for him. He slowly declined with depression and loneliness. The final blow was contracting COVID. Before he had COVID it was requested by his family that both he and his wife be given protective gear and visit outside with distancing. The request was refused.


My niece who is a provider in nursing homes responded to this blog. She works in California. There had been no new cases at the facility she talked about. The rules changed in June for the facility. Relatives could visit and have meals with residents outside sitting six feet apart for 45 minutes at a time. Neither party had to wear PPE. The visitors could come twice per week but only two at a time with each resident. Everyones temperature was taken before visitation.


It is a reality that each facility is its own little kingdom. The freedom and priviledges that the residents in her particular facility had were mostly due to the high incomes and expensive fees paid by the resident. Only a few miles away no visitors were allowed except through a window. Sadly there is not a standard for the industry that could be followed. She states "This pandemic is revealing all of the inequities in the caregiving industry that have existed for a long time." The nursing home that my brother was in did not offer these privileges. It is in a very small town in Tennessee where choices of nursing homes are very limited. How sad that he and many others had to die alone

of loneliness and dispare during this epidemic. A fireman and arson inspector who spent his life saving other lives was lost.


Take away: the tragedy this pandemic has created calls on the resilience of families to mourn their loss and try to live their lives by finding joy in what they still have.

© 2020 M. Kay Runyan