MU nursing programs assist over 500 nursing homes statewide amid COIVD-19
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Nursing homes across the state have worked hard to keep their patients and staff healthy due to COVID-19.
To combat the struggles nursing homes are facing, two University of Missouri nursing support teams are working with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to help more than 500 nursing homes across the state.
The teams come from the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU.
Long-term care facilities with older residents are especially vulnerable to residents getting a respiratory illness like COVID-19, according to a news release from the University of Missouri.
"Nursing homes are not appropriately designed nor staffed to handle large numbers of infectious residents," the release said.
The two programs, the Quality Improvement Program for Missouri and the Missouri Quality Initiative, are aiming to keep residents as safe as possible by providing face shields and other infection control practices.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, access to personal protective equipment was a big concern for nursing home staff. We were able to collaborate with various community organizations to distribute more than 3,000 face shields to nursing homes throughout the state," said Lori Popejoy, associate professor nursing at MU.
Mark Applegate has been visiting his mother at a long-term care facility since nursing homes opened up outdoor visits. He said the facility has had shortages of PPE for staff and visitors.
"Thats part of the reason they aren't allowed to let more people in, because they have to provide PPE to everyone and it would just be overwhelming," he said. "They can keep up with what but are not able to keep up with letting other people come in."
The CDC is working with the state health department to update recommendations for limiting the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
"In order to continue providing support to these individuals, nursing homes have adopted creative practices, such as video chatting with family members so residents can see their loved ones." said Amy Vogelsmeier, associate professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing.
With a statewide shortage of nurses, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of advanced practice registered nurses. Nurses play a major role in finding and managing illness, specifically in nursing homes, to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.