April 21, 2020
LTC advocates urge facilities: “Reach out for help” 

NJ long-term care deaths rock national headlines

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Over the holiday weekend, police received an anonymous tip pointing them to Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in Andover, New Jersey.
 
Upon inspection,  authorities discovered  17  bodies in a  morgue intended to hold  12—many recently deceased due to COVID-19. Over the past few weeks, the facility and its sister site have amassed 68 deaths, including 2 nurses. Of those who perished, 26 tested positive for the virus,  while the other causes of death remain unknown  (or undetermined).
 
“They were just overwhelmed by the amount of people who were expiring,” noted local Police Chief Eric Danielson. “I don’t know if I’m shocked by any means.”

 
Andover: The aftermath   
The harrowing headline out of New Jersey gripped a nation moving into another week of coronavirus lockdown.  Beyond long-term care patients,  it’s no surprise that  20%  of all  COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are currently attributed to healthcare workers. As our essential heroes reach their breaking point,  industry advocates are urging the community to reach out for help if they need it. There is no reason for them to bear this burden alone. 
 
“Facilities must reach out and ask for help from local emergency management,  the state, associations—anyone—when lives or the treatment of those we lost are at stake,” advised Jon Dolan of ​The Health Care Association of New Jersey​. 
 
In an interview with  McKnight’s,  Dolan mentioned that the  Andover facility had experienced 13 overnight deaths on Sunday, April 12​th​. The director was in the process of coordinating with funeral homes and a  nearby hospital to help mitigate the situation.  Dolan also pleaded for authorities (and the general public) to start treating nursing home workers with the same respect as hospital staff. 
 
SpecialtyRx applauds our essential  LTC  heroes for their immeasurable sacrifice throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We also remind our amazing administrators to check-up on residents’  advance directives,  wills,  powers of attorney,  and other end-of-life measures.  Per  Jim  McCracken of  LeadingAge:  “Situations like this can be avoided by good advance care planning. Their wishes should be clear and well-documented.”