Coronavirus adds pressure to caregivers


About 200 Nuvance Health employees, a health care system that includes hospitals in Connecticut are staying home because they may have come into contact with the coronavirus, announced Governor Ned Lamont on Monday.

Republican American reported that Nuvance Health said in a statement Tuesday that “the number of people furloughed is evolving as some early furloughs are now safely returning to work.” It said testing for those who meet testing criteria is continuing.

There are an estimated 2 million home care workers in the U.S., according to Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. A majority of these workers are women, women of color and immigrant women, she tells WBUR.

“While everybody else is running from the coronavirus, they’re running towards it in terms of supporting one of the most vulnerable populations,” says Ai-jen Poo.

The American Health Care Association has said that “routine social visits are strongly discouraged” at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Ai-jen Poo criticizes protocols given to home caregivers about combating the spread of coronavirus as “extremely inadequate,” leading to more unanswered questions than solutions.

Nora L. Duncan, State Director, AARP CT has these recommendations for caregivers:

Stay home if you’re sick and practice “social distancing.”

Have a plan to care for your loved one, including a backup plan if one or both of you gets sick.

Check in with your loved one by phone, email, FaceTime or SkypeThink of those who may be socially isolated and check on them.

AARP CT is advocating for House Bill 5444 which, among other things, Duncan says would allow for video visitation in nursing homes. “This pandemic is proving how important video visitation is for nursing home residents and their loved ones. Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation.”

AARP supports House Bill 5444, An Act Concerning the Use of Video Cameras in the Rooms of Nonverbal Nursing Home Residents, and AARP suggests that the bill be amended to include all nursing home residents.

HB 5444 would allow nonverbal nursing home residents to install electronic monitoring devices in their rooms. People living in the community, including those who receive home and community-based services, have the ability to purchase and install cameras in their homes. AARP believes that nursing home residents should have access to this same technology in the place that they call home. In addition to providing added security and protection against abuse, HB 5444 would provide the opportunity for virtual visitation, keeps family members connected to their loved ones, and makes it easier for remote caregivers to remain involved in their loved one’s care.

“Millions of Americans have cameras in their homes to provide a sense of safety and to help them stay connected to their loved ones, ” says Anna Doroghazi, Associate State Director, Advocacy and Outreach, AARP CT. She continues, “As nursing homes limit visitation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is clear that electronic monitoring is necessary to keep nursing home residents safe and to keep them connected with their families.”

More than 22,000 Connecticut residents receive care in a nursing facility.

Gov. Lamont confirms 68 cases of COVID-19 in the state: 48 in Fairfield County; 7 in Hartford County; 5 in Litchfield County; 8 in New Haven County.