According to an article posted on whyy.org, the Powerback Rehabilitation Center in Center City, Philadelphia, has announced it will soon be accepting COVID-19-positive patients from area hospitals. While the center has, in times previous to this pandemic era, been a step-down facility for discharged hospital patients still in need of post-surgical or post-injury care, it also houses elderly residents in need of long-term care.
As of mid-April, the Philadelphia area has suffered 206 deaths from COVID-19. Fifty percent of those deaths were residents of long-term care facilities, and over 65 percent of the 206 deaths were people over age 70. The elderly are particularly at risk for complications from COVID-19, especially those who have previous health conditions. Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, which has proven in the close quarters of many American nursing facilities to spread rapidly. Despite the risks, Powerback will be taking on COVID-19-positive patients.
Certain hospitals across the nation overwhelmed by coronavirus patients are looking to rehabilitation centers to help with overflow by taking on recovering COVID-19 patients who need care but not hospital stays. According to whyy.com, while hospitals in the Philadelphia area are busy (over 1,350 COVID-19 patients were being treated in Philadelphia hospitals as of April 14) none are at capacity. In an email, James Garrow, representative of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, told whyy.com the department was unaware of any COVID-19 patients being sent to facilities housing long-term care residents, claiming the department was in fact “trying our damnedest to keep COVID OUT of nursing homes.”
The executive director of Powerback, Jennifer Valinoti, has assured family members of the center’s residents that the incoming patients infected with the virus will be kept separate from current patients who have tested negative for COVID-19, and that staff for the 150-bed facility possesses adequate PPE to suppress any spread within the facility. Valinoti also told these family members, for whom visitation is an impossibility, that relocation of loved ones might be an option for those uncomfortable with the incoming COVID-19 patients, although finding a facility in Philadelphia where no one has tested positive for the coronavirus, or where there won’t be incoming COVID-19 patients, might be difficult.
As of April 13, according to the center’s administrators, five of the existing patients at Powerback had tested positive for COVID-19, and were transferred to the COVID-positive unit within the facility.
Assessing the Safety of Your Loved One’s Nursing Home
Ensuring the safety of your loved one’s Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home is more crucial than ever. You should be able to rest assured that the facility meets regulations for hygiene as well as for every other regulation for safety. Should you have any concerns about the quality of a Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home or if you suspect neglect or abuse has taken place at the Philadelphia/PA or NJ facility in which your loved one is residing, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.