L.A. County Public Health Director Tells Families To Consider Removing Elderly Parents From Nursing Homes

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Coronavirus can spread like wildfire in nursing homes, and Los Angeles County director of public health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said on Tuesday that if families could, it would be “perfectly appropriate” that they remove their elderly parents from these establishments.

The COVID-19 coronavirus is capable of wreaking havoc in retirement homes because many elderly residents have underlying health problems; one of the country’s first outbreaks occurred in a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, where two-thirds of residents and 47 workers were infected and 35 people died. On Tuesday, 173 people died from COVID-19 in L.A. County, and 36 were living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Ferrer said.

Ferrer suggested that people who now work from home might be able to care for their loved ones, but acknowledged that for those whose loved ones suffered from dementia or serious illnesses, getting them out of the retirement home might not be an option.

Dr. Michael Wasserman is President of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine, which represents doctors, nurses and other nursing home workers. Los Angeles Times if his mother or grandmother was living in a nursing home right now, and he had “the ability and the means to bring her home, I would.” No matter how good a facility is, most nursing homes in the United States “are going to be challenged by this,” said Wasserman. “Some will do better than others, but sooner or later the virus will find its way. “

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