Throughout our ongoing battle and crusade against COVID-19, our healthcare sector has been attacked, and not just by the virus. Unfortunately, and quite egregiously, long-term care has become the maligned focus of media and other high profile, predatory platforms for negative stories, unbalanced reporting, targeted blame, and inflammatory finger-pointing. But here is a truth that is not being reported or spotlighted: there is a courageous story within our sector that includes heart, sacrifice, and outcomes that have saved thousands of lives. It is time to defend our long-term care heroes for answering the call to serve during COVID-19, and for saving thousands of lives while risking their own. Here are some facts to remember:
- Most media outlets are not healthcare organizations or in a sector that can fully comprehend, by experience or application, the many critical processes, procedures, regulatory guidelines, or everyday critical decisions required in the long-term care sector, before, during, or after the pandemic.
- Much of the negative media is focused on outcomes or situations within nursing facilities during a time before the arrival and life-saving distribution of COVID-19 vaccines within our facilities. During this time, and at the height of COVID, our entire globe, not just the long-term care sector, was still working to fully understand, combat, and survive an unprecedented viral enemy, as deaths were at a peak worldwide.
- It is well documented that our industry was forced to report COVID-19 cases and deaths in a way that simply wasn’t realistic, much less accurate. It is well known that if a person was COVID-19 positive at the time of death, this does not mean the cause of death was COVID-19, no matter how government regulations have stipulated they be classified. In a long-term care setting, there are often many contributing factors, including terminal or pre-existing conditions, that are a leading cause of death, not the virus, but neither can truly be confirmed without an autopsy. Therefore, the number of actual COVID-19 deaths recorded and publicized within nursing homes is highly debatable.
- Independent academic researchers, plus multiple studies, have consistently found nursing home outbreaks are primarily linked to the virus’ spread within the surrounding community of the affected facility, not the facility itself.
At this time, Signature HealthCARE and its 100+ facilities have a nearly 94% overall recovery rate among residents and staff who were diagnosed with COVID-19. Additionally, to date, Signature admitted on average 42 COVID-positive patients per center, when the national average of COVID-positive admissions per center was only 27, according to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). This larger number of admissions is a result of Signature HealthCARE being one of the very few providers that opened more than 70 COVID units within our facilities in 10 states, courageously caring for our own COVID residents, while also welcoming those in our communities who were referred to us and needed critical COVID care when there was no room at hospitals, or no other providers available who would accept them. In our fight, and continued fight against COVID-19, Signature HealthCARE, overall, has spent roughly $80-million dollars on unanticipated COVID related expenses from March 2020 to February 2022.
“This pandemic has scarred and stolen precious life from everyone in our communities, not just long-term care; our schools, hospitals, media outlets, local businesses, emergency services, government entities, families and more,” said Mark Wortley, Chief Operating Officer of Signature HealthCARE. “While we, and the healthcare industry as a whole, are not without loss in this pandemic, our numbers tell a courageous story that is not being told by the media. I couldn’t be more proud of the tenacity and grit of our faithful frontline workers. They have continued to honor their calling and show up every day with compassion and love for our residents, even placing themselves and their families at potential medical risk, despite the very nature of their calling often being attacked and degraded. That lack of regard and honor for this calling furthermore disrespects those of our frontline heroes who gave their lives protecting others. We know we are not immune to imperfection, as no human being or healthcare system is, but to focus on one healthcare sector, and to continually pummel the industry, is shameful. Our heroes deserve better.”
If you have any further questions, please contact our Care Navigation Line at 1-844 SHC-CHAT