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My father has been living in a LTC facility for 16 months. For the past 3 months, it’s been on lockdown. I used to visit my dad every day - most times for 3 or 4 hrs, but since March, no visitors, no activities, no entertainment. NOTHING IS GOING ON. I FaceTime him as much as possible and still talk to him on the phone every day, but there’s no doubt that it’s lonely and isolating. Besides that, my father contracted COVID a month ago and is now in a quarentined unit. He had very mild symptoms (which was good) but he still had it and as a result, he’s further isolated now that he’s in the quarentined unit (an area the is closed off for any resident who tested positive). The facility hasn’t retested him to see if he’s negative. They told me that residents who previously Tested positive are not on the list of who needs to be retested (according to the CDC). There is no end in sight as to when I will get to actually see him. The facility that he pays roughly 14,000/month for has completely changed as a result of this Covid nightmare. Nothing is going on and residents are expected to be satisfied with independent activities. Employees who work there get to go home, go shopping g, and do whatever they do before coming in the next day for work. They get screened but why can’t I go through the same screening to be able to see my father? I barely get updates on his status and I can’t check up on him (in person) to make sure that he is emotionally well. Is it wrong of me to expect more of an explanation as to why there hasn’t been a reduction in his monthly bill? How do I handle this?

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While things have changed and some of the Entertainment or Socialization is not available for the time being residents are still receiving the care they need.  The facility still needs to pay staff and pay for meals provided.  With meals needing to be delivered to rooms instead of residents going to the DR there is added labor expenses.  Added cost for PPE to meet new requirements.  The cleaning staff now taking extra precautions made more difficult because the residents are confined to their rooms so they have to clean around them instead of cleaning the room while they are out to an activity.  With family not able to visit the staff having to attempt to keep residents occupied during those hours,  Fielding additional phone calls and assisting with "window visits" if possible.  The strain for the staff being "essential employees" having to go out to work regular and extra shifts, worried about bringing sickness of any kind home to their families. Others get to work from home or are collecting unemployment in excess of regular wages.  It eats away at you after a while still putting in the same work as before yet hearing others constantly complain about being "stuck" at home.  I don't think expecting them to care for our family at a discount rate is the right answer.  Maybe they deserve a bonus for sticking it out during these difficult times.
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Staff in every facility, every level, all around the country, are low-income, low education, living in crowded conditions, taking public transportation and car-pooling, taking their children and grandchildren to and from care at other people's homes. Their spouses and other members of their households work in hospitals and care centers, drive buses and cabs, work in factories, grocery stores, construction. No religious services? They go to prayer meetings in someone's living room. No salon? They get their hair and nails done in someone's kitchen. No bar? They go to drink in someone's basement speakeasy. No casino? They're gambling in that same basement. Day off? They take the family to the park or the beach or the boardwalk. Just like everyone else, there are some facility staff who believe various conspiracy theories about the virus. Some think they will be protected if they pray to their saint candle or drink herbal tea. Some figure these old people had pretty good lives, way better than their own parents and grandparents in their home country, and if they get sick, it's just God's will, so they will take over-the-counter fever reducers and cough suppressants and continue to come to work. If all they need to walk into the building is a mask, a temperature check, and a negative virus test from 6 weeks ago--why can't family members visit if the family member also has a mask, a temperature check, and a negative virus test from 6 weeks ago?
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At my FIL's indy living, we are expecting a rent increase before the end of the summer.
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why would there be a price discount? do you shop? everything has gone up, there are fewer caregivers and those who are are RIGHT to demand a premium. be grateful
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FloridaDD May 27, 2020
I think that once the federal unemployment of 600/week runs out on July 31, there will be plenty of people looking for caregiver work.  The trick will be holding out till then.  Untill then, people may have to pay off the books (which I do not like to do)
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Just curious--is the place quite "luxurious" or are you in an area where everything is very expensive? $14K/month is over twice what my mother paid in SW Ohio for long-term nursing care in her facility.
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worriedinCali May 27, 2020
The cost of living in Ohio is very low compared to many other states which is probably why your mother paid so little. In CA, AL is the same cost as a nursing home in Ohio.
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I am grateful (as always) to the caring staff, but angry at the facility for these unyielding, one-size-fits-all policies for the Covid virus. My mom is 91 and in a memory unit. She had symptoms, was tested for the virus (positive) and immediately placed on Z-PAC treatment (ezythrimiacin, zinc, hydrochloroquin). Symptoms disappeared and she later tested negative. Still we are not allowed to pick her up at the door to take her out for a visit.

Everyday, we wave to mom thru the closed window...she no longer knows how to use the phone so we can't talk to her. We are not allowed to have the window open. Mom is confined to her room, alone, bored, loosing her mind and body.

Before the lockdown in March: Mom could walk on her own (though we discouraged it). Mom called us and picked up the phone when called. She loved meal times in the dining room where they played Mitch Miller and everyone sang along as they ate. Mom loved the music and Bingo in the common room. All of that is gone as everyone is confined to their rooms just like in a hospital but w/o visitors.

Today my mom can't operate a phone. She cannot even stand up as she is so weak. Her teeth are missing (probably thrown out in the trash w/ paper plates the meals are served on), and she is down to 97 lbs on her 5'5 frame. She sailed thru the virus but the isolation is killing her. The staff tells me all of the Memory unit residents have stopped eating since lockdown.

Why are we locking down people who are losing their minds. The isolation is speeding up the process. I think loved ones of these inmates are OK with them dying but dying alone is heartbreaking for all. In July the facility will review their policies. Will anything change? Will Mom recognize us or even live long enough till we can touch her and talk to her once more. They let out convicts for their health but keep our elderly locked up & dying from the isolation. I am ANGRY and telling me that we all must sacrifice at this time does not help. We are not equally "all in this together". I don't know if the CDC is pushing this, the Government regs, the facility, malpractice lawyers or what. But it is wrong and sinful to isolate these dying souls in the memory units.
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SusieQ55 May 27, 2020
I feel your pain and am experiencing the same thing! they only care about their physical health minus teeth, feet, and hair! I am not allowed to take her out for Dental or podiatry appointments and they dont care if feet or teeth become a problem!! Im afrain they will be jailed till a vaccine I dont know why we cant enter in full PPE to take care of essential health related issues or for any reason really even once a week!!
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My mom is in assisted living since 2017. They just informed us that her monthly cost is increasing $800 bcuz she needs more assistance. Well yes bcuz she is isolated and depressed. Has dementia but lucid just about every other day.....
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I understand your frustration. Group situations make it hard to control exposure to diseases, especially airborne diseases like COVID-19. Since staff have been educated and rigorously screened, they care for the residents as essential workers. The facility has no control over "visitors" - wearing an N95 face mask, maintaining social distance, keeping their social contacts outside of work limited... - which makes visitors a huge liability. Any visitor can come in and have the virus without showing any signs or symptoms. It only takes a touch to a loved one who will than transfer the virus to their face or other mucus membranes. With all the increased measures for hygiene, distancing,.. the facilities tasks have increased. Do not expect any reduction in his payment.

For now, you will not be able to see your father in person. Be creative in finding ways to communicate your love. Try "window visits" where your loved one is next to a first floor window and you talk on the phone while seeing each other. Ask the facility if they can set up online meetings so you can talk and see each other. Send letters and pictures.

When all people are either positive for the antibodies or have been vaccinated, then we will be able to see each other in person again.
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No reduced rates, actually had an increase.
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See my note on your other thread to this effect.
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The isolation is cruel. And I agree you should be able to visit your father with screening.
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dogparkmomma May 27, 2020
You might agree but the facility has protocol and screening is not infallible. They let no family members in unless the person is about to die. How would they screen you? Take your temp; just says you don't have one now. Even a negative Covid test only says you don't have it now. You would have to quarantine, really quarantine for 14 days before a visit and then prior to any other visits. No one has seen their family members inside the facilities. My mother's facility arranged for a visit where we sat outside and she was 7 feet away.
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They raised the daily rate for my wife from $300 to $330, said it was increased cost of PPE.
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FloridaDD May 23, 2020
Did you have a contract?   Does it allow this?  I do see how some things cost more, but a contract is a contract
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Although your father has fewer activities available and although you can't visit him, the expenses of his LTC facility have probably not gone down and may, in fact, have increased. Many places are paying salaried staff who may be furloughed at least part of their salary, and for regular hourly employees who may be furloughed facilities are paying at least part of their hourly pay, especially if they're not eligible for unemployment benefits. The facility's so doing is both a humanitarian and a pragmaticeffort: when the lockdown is over, they want to have maintained their employees. Those staff who are working have extra demands; for example, at least part of the residents would have eaten in the dining room prior to the lockdown, while all residents are now probably being served individually in their rooms. Maintaining separate living areas for those who test positive and frequently havimg to move people to different rooms or into isolation is another expense. The extra efforts to keep residents and employees free from the disease is very time-demanding and personnel-demanding. I'm sorry your father af the disease, but glad he recovred, and I'm sure you want the LTC facility to do all it can to keep others well. Those employees who are working in LTC facilities are also risking their lives to take care of the residents, often having to pay others to take care of their children who are now not in school.

Most of us are having our lives constricted in some ways right now--usually in ways that cost us more than our normal living expenses or that prevent us from earning our normal pay. What is happening in your father's LTC facility is happening all over the country, It may seem unfair that he's not getting all the opportunities he normally has, but it's not anymore unfair than constrictions on people's lives elsewhere. In this situation, your father is in some ways receiving more care than he was, not less, just not the kind of care you or he would prefer. That change is not one for which it would make sense to reduce charges.

I do think it 's worth it to pursue your father's being tested again (there would need to be 2 consecutive negative tests, I believe) if that might result in his moving back to his former room. However, there still may not be enough tests available for his LTC facility to do as much testing as they think they should. Again, this has been a very common problem in the U.S. (I believe you are in the U.S.?)
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My mom's memory care hasn't reduced rent and I would not expect it. They have been so overwhelmed with this virus and as we know the LTC's were the last to get PPE. God bless all of those caregivers who hung in there to care for our families!!! I know mom gets bored and misses the entertainers that used to come in. Mom tested positive and beat covid at 96! Covid has changed everything everywhere and I'm grateful every day for what they did to keep residents as safe as possible. I am able to talk to her daily on her own cell phone and she is back to her bored complaining self. Bless those caregivers. They probably saved my life just as much as the saved hers. Oh, and the good thing about dementia, she doesn't remember if I was there today or 3 months ago. Take the blessings where you get them.
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I doubt they reduced staffing but I expect they had you purchase at ton of PPE at higher prices. Also includes costs for disposable plates and plastic ware. Staff needs more time to safely deliver food to rooms, help with face time, and do individualized entertainment. I have a feeling that to recover these expenses, the next round of rent payments will go up.

Now you posted more than a question. We are all experiencing lockdown and I suspect this can go on for a year. One psychiatrist explained the disconnect is similar to fighting a war. We cannot go back to the past yet and the future is so uncertain to plan. Even if I was working, I am not seeking entertainment when I get outside like shopping. . Hospitals are also locked down. Outside people entering bring in the virus to a vulnerable population and takes away from busy caregivers duties. If you are feeling too much anxiety about this, then seek someone to help you cope.
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