Dr. Avula: Consider pulling loved ones from long-term care facilities

Coronavirus

(WRIC) — Richmond and Henrico Health Director Dr. Danny Avula recommended families remove their loved ones from long term care facilities, only if adequate resources for in-home care are available.

Dr. Avula’s recommendation comes amid the health district dealing with one of the nation’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak at Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. According to Dr. Avula, 49 people have died as a result of the disease and dozens more fell ill.

“When people ask me what still worries you most, about where we are and where we’re headed…it’s our long term care facilities,” Dr. Avula said.

Should you remove your loved one from a long-term care facility with a COVID-19 outbreak?

As the virus aggressively spreads through nursing home facilities, Dr. Avula says seniors maintaining residency inside nursing home facilities “not worth the risk.” Dr. Avula does warn, however, that families looking to remove their loved ones from specialized care must carefully consider the gamble.

“For some families, if they have the option to bring their loved one home, this would be a good time to do that,” Dr. Avula told 8News in a phone interview Friday. He adds “as we have expanded access to testing, we’re gonna see a number of other outbreaks. It’s not because people are doing anything wrong. There’s just no way to put up a defense against asymptomatic transmission in facilities that weren’t built for that degree of infection control.”

Dr. Laurie Forlano,  Deputy Commissioner of Population Health at Virginia Department of Health, leads the task force on long term facilities for the state of Virginia, says “not every family has the ability to care for somebody at home. And it might not be the safest place for their loved one. What’s paramount is the safety and well-being of that individual. So you need to think that through with a healthcare provider.”

Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center say residents are free to leave for any reasons and payments will be refunded.

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