Can This Good News Open Doors?

A recent article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society presented research that may further the discussions on opening nursing homes to visitors. The retrospective study looked at the medical records of 669 US non-immunized nursing home residents. The findings represent both good news now and for the future.

The good news can be summarized in one table:

397 residents with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed infection  292 residents without polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed infection 
Antibodies detected Time Frame Antibodies detected Time Frame
  • 57.1%
7-14 days of a + PCR
  • 22.2% 
7-14 days of a – PCR
  • 93.6%
15-30 days 
  • 50.6% 
15-30 days 
  • 83.1%
31-60 days
  • 43.9%
31-60 days
  • 88.7%
After 60 days
  • 26.5%
After 60 days

Antibodies developing in the absence of infection, while good, highlights the need for frequent surveillance and testing, a low index of clinical suspicion of infection, and comprehensive strategies to manage outbreaks in the nursing home population.

Can we use this information to open doors?

With vaccinations of nursing home residents and frontline workers well underway, it is certainly time to rethink the decisions to forbid visitors. The American Healthcare Association (ACHA) has a comprehensive toolkit for helping open the doors to nursing home visitors in their #Get Vaccinated campaign.

As much progress has been made in vaccinating nursing home residents and frontline healthcare workers, vaccine hesitancy continues to be a real issue. An article in the current issue of Caring for the Ages offers some tips for having productive, mutually respectful conversations with staff or others who are hesitant about or resistant to the vaccine. We must continue to encourage everyone to be vaccinated while understanding and respecting their individual views and concerns.

Then – and only then — we will be able to open the doors and begin to defeat the loneliness and isolation felt by both residents and their family members.

The message is clear. Immunized residents, staff, family members, and others are required for herd immunity and to enable nursing home visitation to resume.

Patient Pattern will continue to encourage immunization for all residents, staff, and others. In the meantime, we can help you with automated health risk assessments and other analytics, data collection/sharing, and documentation that enables the clinical team to focus on person-centered. 

Contact us today to learn more about software clinicians actually want to use to care for residents today and long after the pandemic.