nursing homes

Phillips County Retirement Center got a coronavirus testing machine this month from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But it will run out of the sample-collecting kits that came with the device on Monday, just one week after turning it on.

Twenty miles away, the county’s other nursing home is still waiting for its machine.

“It’s been a really big struggle just to even try to find out who knows where it is,” said Teresa McComb, who runs Logan Manor Community Health Services.

COVID-19 Regulations A Stress On Nursing Home Residents, Families

Sep 8, 2020
cdc.gov

When Mary Malone turned 61, family members couldn’t come closer than the other side of a nursing home window.

Malone, a nanny and housekeeper described as the “glue” of her family, lay in a bed at Watercrest at Victoria Falls in Andover, a skilled nursing home and rehabilitation center that had been locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Her family erected a yard art scene outside her window.

“So this is what we have come to,” Malone’s niece, Jannette Malone Page, wrote about the experience at the time.

At a Kansas City, Kansas, nursing home, employees tested positive for COVID-19 and went back to work the next day.

Health workers cared for residents who had tested negative for the virus in the same gowns and masks they’d worn into the rooms of those who’d tested positive.

“I wash my hands,” a nurse told inspectors. “But I wear the same PPE.”

Half a year into the pandemic, Kansas nursing homes still face uneven access to fast COVID-19 testing through the state’s patchwork of private labs and hospitals. And the prices they pay for it vary widely.

When the coronavirus hit Kansas, there’s no question the state — like the rest of the country — was unprepared. That showed in the mad scramble to buy more surgical and N95 masks, gowns and nasal swabs.

Public officials say Kansas has made progress on those and other fronts. Yet gaps in data make it hard to pinpoint whether Kansas has what it needs — at a time when cases are increasing at an alarming rate.

Here’s a quick look at where Kansas stands now on the most important measures.

How common is coronavirus in Kansas?

Monette Johnson wants her husband, Chuck, to see another of the wheat harvests that have been so central to his life.

His career centered around grain elevators and wheat sales. Now in hospice care in Lindsborg, Kansas, he misses those golden fields.

So Monette recruited a family friend to Skype with him during harvest so Chuck can enjoy the scenery.

Hugo Phan/KMUW

Many residents of a Clearwater nursing home where 11 deaths from COVID-19 are now being reported were not given baths for more than five weeks, its former director of nursing says.

Christine Zeller, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing, described the lack of bathing as part of a pattern of substandard care caused by employee turnover and a shortage of equipment and supplies at Clearwater Nursing & Rehabilitation. She made the allegations in written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Kansas Legislature last week.

At least eight lawsuits have now been filed against Riverbend Post-Acute Rehabilitation, the Kansas City, Kansas, nursing home where 132 patients and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 and 36 have died.

Attorneys representing the nursing home on Tuesday transferred all eight cases to federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. They had originally been filed in Wyandotte County District Court.

Brighton Gardens of Prairie Village, a Kansas nursing home that is the site of a cluster of COVID-19 cases, was sued Monday for the wrongful death of one of its residents.

The lawsuit was filed by the family of Gordan Grohman, who was 88 when he died on May 1. It's the first of what is expected to be more such suits against Brighton Gardens.

“This is not just a failure of one employee, one nurse or anything like that. This goes all the way to the top,” said attorney Rachel Stahle.

A Lenexa lab is marketing coronavirus antibody tests that are not federally approved as a way for nursing homes to figure out which workers don’t pose a threat to residents.

State health officials and medical experts say the claims that the tests would provide facilities peace of mind are “wrong” and “risky.” The president of Great Plains Laboratory Inc., William Shaw, canceled an interview with the Kansas News Service. In an email, he said he had not reviewed the sales pitch before it went out.

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