Local Nursing Homes Face Challenges
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 4.2 percent of the population is living in nursing homes, congregate care, assisted living and board-and-care homes. In California, more than 400,000 people are cared for in licensed long-term care facilities every year. There are roughly 400 nursing homes in Los Angeles County. Of those 400, 153 facilities currently have confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst their healthcare worker or resident populations.
The data, which is released and updated daily by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), includes the cumulative number of confirmed cases and deaths associated with COVID-19 for both healthcare workers and residents in skilled nursing facilities. The state requires all skilled nursing facilities to report their data. Some 87 percent have done so, while 13 percent have not. The CDPH thus warns that the count is not comprehensive.
As of May 6, California has reported 2,254 COVID-19 deaths, 763 of them in a nursing home, accounting for 33.85 percent of the state’s death toll. Nursing homes constitute 34.76 percent of the COVID-19 infected populous.
The grim statistics have made nursing homes a point of contention as the virus continues to claim the lives of the vulnerable senior population, already in the higher risk age group. Los Angeles County reports that 425 residents of institutional settings, such as skilled nursing homes, have died of COVID-19, accounting for roughly 45 percent of the County’s death toll from the pandemic.
The Courier has reviewed data filed by state and local health departments, which reveals that some 23 deaths have occurred in 16 facilities in the area bordering or close to Beverly Hills.
That area includes West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Culver City, Brentwood as well as the mid-Wilshire district.
A Closer Look
Local institutions include Silverado Beverly Place, an assisted living facility specializing in memory care. The upscale, 125-bed facility is located half a mile north of The Grove shopping center. Since late March, it has reported 45 residents and 29 healthcare employees with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Twelve have died.
The Beverly Hills Carmel South assisted living home on Burton Way features a landscaped courtyard and outdoor patios, fitness classes and daily afternoon tea, among other amenities. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), 15 residents and eight healthcare employees have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Six have died.
The Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility on La Brea Boulevard in West Hollywood, currently houses 136 residents. The CDPH conducted a “COVID-19 Focused Infection Control Survey” on April 30 and found the facility to be in compliance with infection control. However, the LACDPH reports that 23 residents and 13 healthcare employees there have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Four have died.
The Rehabilitation Centre Of Beverly Hills located on South San Vicente Boulevard features 150 beds, and offers a restorative nursing program, social services and recreational therapy. According to the LACDPH, the facility has reported 29 residents and 27 healthcare employees with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Two have died. On April 4, the CDPH published a report concluding that the state’s Infection Prevention and Control statute was not being met at the facility.
Protecting Patients or Facilities
Both the CDC as well as state and local departments of health have promulated new guidelines and requirements to support the safe and sustained operation of skilled nursing facilities. California Governor Gavin Newsom has indicated that protecting the occupants of nursing homes is a top priority. However, advocates for seniors fear that he may be on the verge of approving a request from the powerful hospital and assisted living lobbying groups to provide sweeping immunity from civil and criminal liability during the pandemic. No official announcement has yet been made on whether Newsom will deem the state’s nursing homes in need of the added protection. Nationwide, at least 15 other states have already passed such laws.