COVID-19 exposed many flaws in American society. Nowhere is that more true than nursing homes, where 36% of coronavirus deaths took place. Many factors contributed to these deaths. For one, healthy residents were forced to share rooms with those who had tested positive, leading to increased transmission. Banning family visits was not enough to protect residents as care staff became vectors for the disease. Even now, some nursing home workers are refusing the vaccine, contributing to the problem.
Between rising costs of operation, falling occupancy, and declining reputations, nursing homes are in dire financial straits. 65% of care facilities currently operate at a loss and 25% more have a profit margin of under 3%. America could see a large number of closures in coming years if nothing is done to fix their issues. Nursing home closures would be a tragedy because as the population ages, greater numbers of Americans will demand their services. While 90% of people today never want to use a nursing home, 70% of seniors will need long term care at some point in their lives. The pandemic has changed how people perceive the future.
Going forward, the nursing homes that remain will have a lot of work they need to do to rehabilitate their public image. First and foremost, they need to improve cleanliness. Cleanliness is the #3 most cited factor in care facility reviews, after staff attitude and responsiveness. If a facility smells bad or shows signs of mess, no one will want their loved ones to stay there. The simple adoption of a one-step multi-surface cleaner (used consistently) could reduce healthcare-associated infections in nursing homes by up to 85%. That decreases not only COVID-19 numbers, but sepsis and MRSA as well. Clean homes are set to become the nursing homes of the future post-pandemic.