Editorial: Texas nursing homes, long among worst, now havens for COVID-19
For many families, moving an elderly loved one into a nursing home is an emotionally fraught decision. It’s a choice that can be loaded with regret, guilt and shame — even if it’s the best option to meet a vulnerable senior’s needs.
Many facilities ensure residents live with dignity and treat them with respect, but for some seniors, the fear is they will end up alone, imperiled and far from their families as mortality encroaches.
For both groups, the novel coronavirus is a nightmare made real.
The outbreak has spread through the nation’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities like wildfire, stoked by the susceptibility of older adults and those with underlying conditions. The virus has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 nursing home residents nationwide, and these deaths account for more than 40 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths in Texas.
The vulnerability extends beyond seniors themselves to the nursing home industry, which in Texas has been beset with long-standing problems of substandard patient care. Add to that a lack of testing across the state and shortages of personal protective equipment and you’ve got a disaster.