ARTicles of Medicine

Nursing homes and long-term care (LTC) facilities have experienced some of the most deadly outbreaks of COVID-19, often with a devastatingly high mortality rate. Life Care Center of Kirkland in Washington State was one of the nursing homes hit first and hardest by COVID-19, with two-thirds of the residents infected and 35 deaths. In response to the significant trend of COVID-19 infections among nursing home residents and staff, governments around the world have launched inquiries and investigations. The Scottish Health Secretary is calling for a review of the entire nursing home system, and a commission in England is investigating potential human rights breaches in nursing homes. Nursing homes in many places in the United States are seeking immunity from lawsuits filed by families of residents who died of COVID-19. It is clear that in the future the infection prevention and control practices of nursing homes will be under intense scrutiny, both by governments and the public.

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“Vulnerability, weakness, and neediness are to be avoided,” we are told, “Success, preparation, and strength are our defenses.” Suddenly, however, we all find ourselves quite vulnerable, and in ways that may not be immediately apparent but that nonetheless affect us on some level.

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