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Some 1,600 workers from 18 Detroit-area nursing homes will go on an all-day, all-shifts, indefinite strike on August 17 to demand an end to what they say are “poverty wages,” inadequate personal protective equipment, and dangerously low levels of staffing, according to the union SEIU Healthcare Michigan.

More than 2,000 nursing home residents and 22 staff members have been killed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to state data.

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Today on Stateside, a conversation with two Black farmers about the causes and consequences of systemic racism in the agriculture industry. Also, an update from the Michigan Radio newsroom on what we know about COVID infections in nursing homes.

UNSPLASH

All but one of Michigan’s 21 regional hubs for nursing home patients recovering from COVID-19  have been cited for an infection-control deficiency in the last four years, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Four of those facilities were cited for infection-control violations that occurred in the weeks just before the state designated them as hubs. 

 

MICHIGAN.GOV

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed a bill that would have had serious implications for nursing home residents recovering from COVID-19. 

Senator Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Charter Township) was the bill’s sponsor. He’s says that the governor’s policy of placing recovering COVID patients in so-called regional hubs has resulted in loss of lives. 

REP. LESLIE LOVE

Michigan’s House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that seeks to establish entirely separate facilities for nursing home residents with COVID-19. 

The state Senate has already voted in favor of the bill.

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Workers at five nursing homes in metro Detroit say they'll walk off the job today to protest working conditions.

Trece Andrews is a certified nursing assistant at Regency at St. Clair Shores. 

THE U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

Labs that process COVID-19 tests in Michigan are taking several days to get results back to nursing homes, according to the state health department.

More facilities are testing residents and staff in order to comply with a June directive from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

That order requires facilities with active COVID-19 cases to test staff and residents weekly until 14 days have passed since the last positive test. Facilities in medium to high-risk parts of the state — as of Friday, all of them — must test staff weekly, regardless of whether the virus has been detected. 

 

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Every weekday at 2 p.m., 81-year-old Gladys Acklin settles into her couch to watch the soap opera “General Hospital.” 

“We both like Sonny,” she says. “He’s the mobster.... And his hit man Jason. We like him too. We like all the crooks.” 

 

When Ms. Acklin says we, she’s including Jean Reinbold, a social worker, but also a friend. Since the lockdown began back in March, Reinbold has been calling Ms. Acklin, who lives alone, quite a lot. 

TRINITY HEALTH SENIOR COMMUNITIES

The financial strain caused by COVID-19 is forcing a Muskegon nursing home to close its doors. In a press release issued Thursday, management said Sanctuary at the Park was less than half-full due to a reduction in hospital transfers. 

“Sanctuary at the Park was built and staffed for 99 residents, but currently is only caring for a very small number of individuals,” said administrator Julie Winkle, in the release. “This decline in residents and reduced hospital referrals due to COVID-19 make it unsustainable to continue operations.”

 

Sen. Peter Lucido

In an often emotional hearing that raised more questions than it answered, the state Senate health policy committee heard testimony on a bill that would prohibit nursing homes without COVID-19 positive patients from caring for patients with the disease. 

Nursing home residents account for more than one third of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths, according to the state health department. 

 

RAWPIXEL

Nearly 2,000 nursing home residents in Michigan have died of COVID-19, making up about 34% of the state’s total deaths from the disease. That figure was announced on Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

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Update: June 5, 2020 11:25 p.m.

Data released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about COVID-19 in U.S. nursing homes appears to be partially inaccurate. Michigan Radio’s data analyst Brad Gowland reviewed the federal agency’s numbers and found that for 32 skilled nursing facilities in Michigan, the total number of COVID-19 resident deaths was greater than the total number of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents.

elderly care giver
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Today on Stateside, as Northern Michigan and the UP reopened restaurants this past weekend, other businesses stayed closed. We speak with a hair stylist who wants to find a safe way to reopen. Plus, the difficulty of tracking the number of COVID-19 cases in elder care facilities.

RAWPIXEL

Michigan is currently reporting more than 2,300 COVID-19 cases in nursing homes. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the number of deaths is 748. That’s nearly 15% of the state’s COVID deaths.

 

But information about how well Michigan’s nursing homes have controlled the spread of COVID-19 has been limited. 

 

MICHIGAN.GOV

Without proper controls, infection will spread quickly through a nursing home. It’s one reason states have been grappling with the question of where to put elderly patients who’ve mostly recovered from COVID-19, but are still testing positive.

Connecticut has designated facilities that will care for COVID patients exclusively, while New York, rewinding a previous strategy, is requiring that nursing-home residents test negative before being discharged to a facility.

In Michigan, the state has selected about 20 facilities to take on these patients. As of today, all of them exist as separate units within nursing homes, many of whose residents have not tested positive for COVID.

HEARTLAND-MANORCARE

More than 2,800 of Michigan’s nursing-home residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

Two weeks ago the state issued new rules for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities intended to curb the spread of the virus through these vulnerable communities. As of Wednesday, the median age of those who had died from the disease was 76. 

 

City of Detroit

The city of Detroit says it’s now tested all residents at its 26 nursing homes for COVID-19, and the next step is to test all nursing home staff.

Staff testing will be available for free at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds drive-thru testing site. That will become mandatory on May 11.

The state of Michigan is expected to soon start releasing more information on the number of COVID-19 cases in specific nursing homes.

Hundreds of nursing home residents have tested positive for the disease in Michigan.

Melissa Samuel is the president of the Health Care Association of Michigan. She does not expect publicizing the numbers will “stigmatize” hard hit nursing homes.

CDC

Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are helping the city of Detroit assess the COVID-19 spread in the city’s nursing homes.

124 Detroit nursing home residents have died since the outbreak began. Hundreds more have tested positive for the disease, though half showed no symptoms.

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it will release information about COVID-19 cases and deaths at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living centers.

MDHHS is now requiring long-term care to give daily updates regarding their current bed availability and their personal protective equipment inventory along with the current number of COVID-19 cases and deaths within their facility.

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says Duggan says nearly every trend is heading in an “encouraging direction” in the city’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan’s largest city has been at the epicenter of the state’s fight with the coronavirus.

To date, Detroit has recorded 395 deaths and 6,781 people testing positive for the coronavirus.  

But Mayor Duggan says there are signs the city’s struggles are easing.

nurse holding stethoscope checking heartbeat of elder patient
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Some of the most vulnerable people in Michigan right now live in nursing homes, where the new coronavirus has the potential to sicken and kill with alarming ferocity.

The CDC has recommended some practices and procedures to help nursing home patients and staff stay healthy. But whether facilities follow those guidelines varies, and the state would need to investigate nursing homes that get complaints before any immediate action could take place.

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Residents and staff at nursing homes in the city of Detroit will get tested for COVID-19 starting Wednesday.

The city has 27 nursing homes with 12 COVID-19 related deaths across them, and 14 of the homes have reported at least one case of COVID-19.

Nursing home
Metron Health / https://www.metronhealth.com/services/contact/metron-of-cedar-springs/

A nursing home about 20 miles north of Grand Rapids has 31 residents and 5 staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Paul Pruitt, the Director of Operations at Metron of Cedar Springs, said in a statement that Metron has been working closely with local, state and federal health departments.

Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

As the Democratic presidential candidates prepare to debate in Detroit over the next two days, hundreds of nursing home care workers have gathered in the city to highlight what they call in an “ongoing care crisis” in that industry.

Logan Martin / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

As America gets older, the question of who's going to care for Grandma and Grandpa becomes more complicated and more urgent. Consider this: the number of Americans over age 65 will more than double in less than 50 years.

Patricia Smith, a professor of economics at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, recently penned a piece for The Conversation that explores the future of “the daunting economics of elder care.”

A metro Detroit family is going public with allegations, and video, about abuse their elderly father suffered in a Livonia nursing home.

Hussein Younes and his six children are suing Livonia’s Autumnwood nursing home.

Elderly woman
Borya / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A plan to downsize a Kalamazoo nursing home that has some residents’ families and elder advocates crying foul is on hold for now, according to the facility’s CEO.

In January, the Harold and Grace Upjohn Community Care Center sent out a letter announcing imminent plans to downsize by 42 residents as part of a larger facility overhaul, saying some would have to "transition" to other locations.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government is accusing one of the largest providers of nursing home and rehabilitative care in Michigan of providing medically unnecessary therapy.

The civil lawsuit was filed under the Federal False Claims Act.

Toledo-based HCR ManorCare operates dozens of nursing, rehab and other facilities in Michigan and more than 200 nationwide.

Elderly woman
Borya / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor hospital study suggests simple measures could reduce multi-drug-resistant infections in nursing homes.

Dr. Lona Mody says there's much at stake for nursing home residents, as well as others.

"Nursing home patients may be transferred back to the hospital for a problem or for an acute illness,  and bring that organism with them to the hospital," says Mody.

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