Health experts seeing vaccines increase people moving back into care facilities

Published: Feb. 13, 2021 at 7:37 PM CST
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - Health care experts said they were starting to see an uptick in people moving back to care facilities after a sharp decrease in 2020.

Candy and Jay Cardini were one of the families who took a loved one out of a care facility. Candy’s father, Herb Kane, was taken out of his home and brought him into theirs.

“He didn’t understand why he couldn’t come out, and he kept asking is please come on in, and we did see him start to decline,” said Candy.

Kane suffered from short-term memory loss. His facility shut its doors to visitors on March 14th. That happened to be Kane’s, a WWII veteran, 96th birthday. The decision was made after Candy said they could see her father’s health declining by not seeing loved ones. They brought in-home hospice care as well as a bed for him to sleep in. He passed away on June 11th.

“He loved word-finding books and playing solitaire on his tablet,” said Candy. “Those were some of the good days.”

Lori Ristau, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Iowa Health Care Association, said the Nardini’s weren’t the only ones doing this during the early days of the pandemic. She said there was a 16 percent decrease in people moving into Iowa care facilities in 2020 because people were scared of not seeing their loved ones, as well as some medical procedures that would require rehabilitation were canceled.

“That’s a difficult decision under a normal circumstance, so COVID-19 did not make that decision any easier,” said Ristau.

Ristau said they were starting that number turn around after vaccinations started.

“People still need skilled care,” she said. “A nursing home is the safest place they can be for that level of care.”

Ristau said they would continue working with local health departments to secure vaccines for people coming to live in care facilities. As for the Nardini’s, they said it was tough for people living in the facilities as well as their families.

“We had some quality time, and we didn’t want him to die alone,” said Jay. “In that last week, when we knew it was heading in that direction, he didn’t. We were able to be with him when he passed.”

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