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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.

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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.

person holding test tubes with blue gloves on
Trust "Tru" Katsande / Unsplash

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s been a big jump in the number of elderly people making living wills and other end-of-life directives.

Dr. Maria Silveira is a University of Michigan researcher. She says between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of elderly Americans with living wills or who gave a loved one power of attorney in health matters rose from 47% to 72%.

Silveira says the change may reflect different generational attitudes.

“I think this generation of older folks, Baby Boomers in particular, are more inclined to take charge,” says Silveira.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

AARP is out with a proposal this week that calls for targeting state Medicaid dollars to fund at-home care. The senior citizen advocacy group says the state could care for three people at home for the cost of one patient in a nursing home. 

The Royal Parks website

A community near Akron, Ohio opened a new playground last week - one specially designed for senior citizens.
    

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the playground consists of eight pieces of low-impact athletic equipment designed for older adults.
    

An advocacy group says many nursing homes patients in the state have experienced severe neglect and abuse.

The Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service says one of the worst cases involves a resident who had to have maggots suctioned out of her throat, after she was taken to an emergency room because she was having trouble breathing.

Another resident had maggots infesting her body near her catheter.

But state officials said these are isolated cases, and most nursing homes do a good job caring for residents.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new Michigan State University study finds more than one in five Michigan nursing home patients is neglected. 

 The study examined cases of physical neglect, in which the caregiver failed or refused to meet a resident’s needs of food, water, personal hygiene, clothing, medicine, shelter, personal safety or comfort.