Media reports say residents at US nursing homes are now more likely to be evicted and forced into boarding houses or homeless shelters in order to make room for COVID-19 patients who attract higher Government funding payments.
Now there are more calls for traditional long-term care facilities to be replaced with smaller, household models or home care services.
Disability advocacy group ADAPT (American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today) and other groups say better outcomes can be achieved for older people in small group homes of two to four people or by supporting them in place.
They point out that home-based care is also less expensive in the long run, with data showing moving someone from a nursing home into the community drops their overall Medicare and Medicaid expenditures by 20%.
With 82% of nursing homes in the United States cited at least once for failures to prevent or control infections between 2013 and 2017, groups say it would also be safer.
“If the local nursing facility were on fire, we’d be rushing to get people out. If there were a hurricane coming, people would be told to evacuate and get to safety. But what’s happening right now is […] we’re watching people die in these facilities and we’re not doing anything about it,” Bruce Darling, an organiser with Rochester Adapt, says.