nursing homes

COVID-19 Claims The Lives Of At Least Three Long-Term Caregivers In Kansas

Mar 24, 2021
The Active Age

Lisa Bramblett had underlying health issues and realized she could die if she caught the novel coronavirus.

The licensed practical nurse, who was the charge nurse overnight at Pittsburg Care and Rehabilitation Center continued to work as the pandemic rolled through 2020.

"The nursing home was testing everybody twice a week, and she tested positive on the 7th [of December]," her husband, Ron Bramblett, said.

By Dec. 11, she was in the emergency room. The following day, she was put on a ventilator at a Pittsburg hospital. Three days after Christmas, she died.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Karen Smith decided five years ago to move into Wichita Presbyterian Manor.

"It was a good decision," she said. "I wanted to come early. I was in the mood to move and get in some place I could be in for the rest of my life."

At 75, she’s among the younger residents there. She lives in the independent living unit — the sprawling campus at 13th and Zoo Boulevard also includes assisted living, memory care, long-term care and health services — and enjoys staying active.

Nursing Home Residents 'Ecstatic' To Get Vaccine

Jan 11, 2021
Courtesy photo

New Year's Eve brought a different kind of celebration at the Kansas Christian Home in Newton: Staff and residents received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We were ecstatic, absolutely thrilled that we were finally getting a step toward protecting our residents, family, friends, ourselves," said Donna Hett, assistant director of nursing at the retirement community, where 110 residents and staff were vaccinated by a visiting team from Walgreens. "I mean we were almost dancing, we were so happy."

Now that a COVID-19 vaccine has reached Kansas, residents and employees of long-term care homes are expected to be among the first groups of people offered the vaccine.

The question is how many of them will choose to take it. Public health officials and the homes’ operators strongly endorse the vaccine, but polls have shown that many Americans remain skeptical or opposed.

COVID-19 poses such dire risks to older people in nursing homes that even vaccines won’t guarantee a quick end to their pandemic isolation.

Tens of thousands of workers and residents at Kansas long-term care facilities will get vaccinated over the next three months. But families aching to visit after such a long separation may not have easy access to their loved ones for several more months at least.

“We will not be clicking our fingers and returning to normal,” said William Hanage, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University. “There is not a silver bullet.”

Courtesy Courtney Farr

EUDORA, Kansas — In 1979, a young boy fell asleep on his father’s chest in their Scott City, Kansas, home. His mother snapped a photo.

A week ago, that father died of COVID-19 in the local nursing home. Marvin Farr’s son, Courtney Farr, penned an obituary.

Dozens of Kansas nursing homes still wait three days to a week for overwhelmed labs to tell them if their residents have COVID-19.

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

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.”