The Impact Of COVID-19 To Vulnerable Adults, Seniors, And Healthcare



Every passing minute, there is another complication that arises from the coronavirus, most of which fall mostly on seniors and adults with existing conditions. Evidently, the risk of getting infected is highest among the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Additionally, the death toll for nursing facility residents is shocking, which is why visiting patients has been banned. Senior facilities that so many of the elderly are dependent upon are now closed. Only meal pickups are available, and this poses a challenge for most seniors because public transportation is scarce. This group of individuals is facing the frustrating challenge of inattention and isolation, which can be as dangerous as the coronavirus itself.

Seniors And Home Health Employees Affected

The federal government has abdicated the usual three-day hospital admission prerequisite for Medicare insurance coverage to accommodate more patients. But there have been reports that the many long-term care centers have not been accepting new patients. Further, most home health companies don’t accommodate new cases because they are having difficulty providing services to their existing clients. And this will apparently worsen as more and more home health employees become ill or are forced to stay home. This would mean that there is a higher number of seniors left in hospital facilities while it is unsafe for them to be there.


Home health employees may also be carriers of infection and may ultimately endanger the patients and residents that they are providing care for. Although facilities are obliged to screen employees meticulously, the risk will always be there.

Medicaid And Other Companies Affected

Some companies that cater to vulnerable adults have stopped operating at the moment. For instance, in New Jersey, programs for the disabled are currently closed, placing more stress and pressure on families to take care of their loved ones without assistance from certified caregivers. The government has loosened some guidelines on home health providers, allowing more hours of weekly work and also providing salaries to family members who are direct carers of the elderly and vulnerable adults after they have gone through and passed the application process.

As for direct contact, face-to-face care of clients from support and coordination companies are temporarily suspended except for cases associated with health and safety. The issue is that it’s difficult to identify when health and safety are threatened even with no regular contact. The Division of Developmental Disabilities is operating from its own office and is communicating via the Internet.

Other companies are caring for the disabled and the elderly that are affected as well, and Medicaid is one of these companies. The New Jersey Boards of Social Services have transitioned to remote access and having a skeletal type of system in their offices. Undoubtedly, the process is slower than normal. It is not clear whether or not new applicants of Medicaid can be prepared remotely, as this new system is still at its infancy stages and still mostly paper-driven. Additionally, community nurses who are assigned to evaluate Medicaid applicants are not doing their jobs. So the application procedure is waived, these new applicants are unable to secure their Medicaid coverage and will, therefore, be possibly denied of necessary care. They will also be unable to receive benefits provided by the company.


These times are not ordinary. We do hope we will soon return to our normal topsy-turvy but happy and COVID-free lives. In the meantime, carers of vulnerable adults and seniors, and individuals with disabilities, you must all be keen on protecting your loved ones. Medicaid suggests that you maintain constant communication with them and to be assertive in asking for help when necessary. Community agencies, private healthcare companies, and local governments are available to work with you to make sure that our vulnerable loved ones will not break down amidst these devastating times.




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